School is out, the weather’s warm, and it’s time for s’mores and fun….right?
Summer can be a tough transition for some children particularly if they’re anxious or dislike separation from their parents. What can you do as a caregiver to help your child?
- Preparation. If you know your child is scared of loud noises, prepare him for fireworks! Show him a video online, show pictures, talk about the plan you have for arriving/seeing the show/leaving safely.
- Focus on safety before the experience. Enroll your child in swimming lessons well before her swimming party, revisit the stranger danger discussion before a camp out, point out beach lifeguard towers, work with younger children to memorize their address, parents’ full names and phone numbers in case of emergency.
- Develop a password or secret code. Work with your child to develop a silly phrase or word that can serve as a password in case of emergencies—the funnier the better! If your child knows any adult who comes up to him has to say “jiggle wiggle woo” before it’s safe to go with the adult, he won’t feel anxious with a change in routine.
- Validate your child's experience. Maybe attending a family reunion isn’t anxiety provoking for you, but it can be for your first grader. Ask her how she's feeling, respond with supportive comments, read her body language and follow-up appropriately. Support her needs; for example, prompt your child to give a high five if she appears uncomfortable with hugging and kissing.