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Super, Not Stressful: Summer With Kids

Great memories and greater mental health

Article by Kristie Griess

Photography by Kristie Griess, Mickie's Miracles

Originally published in Southlake City Lifestyle

Summertime is one of the most anticipated times of the year for children and adults alike. Whether it’s exploring new places, taking a break from school, or simply having more freedom to enjoy the warm weather and family activities, summer is a great opportunity to have fun and be productive for the entire family. However, with the planned structure of school and after school activities now missing, dealing with summer can also be quite stressful and challenging for parents to keep their kids busy while maintaining the entire family’s mental health. 

By keeping your children's minds and bodies active, you can help preserve their mental well-being. This can be through summer camps, sports teams, volunteering opportunities and outdoor fun such as hiking or swimming. Allowing them to express themselves in different ways can give them a sense of accomplishment, independence, and self-confidence. These activities will also help them develop important life skills and knowledge that can be used throughout their lives. Plus, the structure of these activities will be helpful to both your children and managing your own schedule. 

It's important to remember that the goal is not perfection, but planning and consistency. In other words, instead of trying to fit in too many activities or spending all your time overscheduling your child’s summer, focus on what works best for your family and make sure to intentionally set time aside for yourself as well. This could involve connecting to your community of support as needed, scheduling child care to get breaks, date nights, maintaining your workout and movement schedule, ensuring you get ample sleep, keeping your nutrition mostly healthy — and just generally making your self-care a priority.  Other ideas might include spending time outside, enjoying nature, regular meditation, and prayer. 

Something that can help alleviate the pressure parents can feel in creating “programming” for their kids is encouraging the kids themselves to follow their own interests, explore new activities, and take an active, age-appropriate involvement in their own schedule. This could mean painting, playing an instrument, drawing or creating arts and crafts to express themselves — while keeping electronics time to a minimum. I know it can be tempting and often easier to allow the extra time to be occupied with electronics, but as we all are learning as parents, that can come at a greater cost later. Consider replacing that often default setting with involving the children in helping out with chores around the house or learning how to cook their own meals. Summer can also be a great time for kids to get involved in gardening projects or take on small entrepreneurial endeavors such as selling lemonade or running a car wash. 

Taking time to make sure your children stay busy during the summer will go a long way toward preserving their — and your — mental health. It will provide them with important experiences that help develop self-confidence, independence, and life skills, which are essential for future success and likely help account for the unplanned time that can often create anxiety. Remember, the goal is not perfection but planning and consistency. That includes making time for yourself and maintaining an intentional commitment to your self-care by keeping your mental health a priority. Yes, it can be harder given the additional free time your kids have, but you’ll thank yourself and, at the same time, be setting a great example for your children. 

About Kristie Griess, CEO & Visionary Founder of Mickie’s Miracles

A mama bear, advocate, speaker, and CEO who has navigated her daughter overcoming the brain-attacking disease known as pediatric epilepsy, Kristie has been paying it forward to ensure every child with epilepsy has a real opportunity for quality of life. 

When she’s not fighting fiercely to create miracles for other families and save babies’ lives, you can find Kristie traveling with her family, enjoying yoga and challenging workouts, writing and retreating at the lake for R&R and fun on the water with the whole family affectionately known as Team Griess.

  • Kristie Griess: Founder of Mickie's Miracles
  • Kristie and Mikayla
  • Mikayla during treatment