“Kids need some recovery time this summer,” says Dr. Denise Pope, encouraging all families to “switch off and reboot” as a way to recover from the disruption, isolation and anxiety caused by the pandemic.
Pope is a Senior Lecturer at Stanford University and Co-Founder of Challenge Success. She spoke at a Zoom event titled “Looking Ahead: A Healthy Approach to Fall” on June 9, 2021. More than 130 people attended the parent education event presented by Crescent School and the Crescent Parent Association.
“Even before COVID happened, we weren’t in balance,” said Pope, noting that it has always been a challenge to ensure children get enough sleep and unstructured free time while also fitting their school, homework and extracurriculars into their schedule.
Now, as life begins to return to normal, Pope said families need to avoid getting “sucked back into the old routine.”
“Let’s take a step back and really consider the big picture of what’s important for mental health and wellbeing,” she said.
Summer is the time to rebalance the demands on children’s time, said Pope. “When you reboot a computer, it shuts down, goes through a cycle and then starts up again. That’s what the boys need,” said Pope. She offered these five tips to set students up for success in September:
Create a healthy routine – particularly, ensure that children get enough sleep.
Watch for anxiety/fear – talk to children about what is worrying them
Communicate with the school – reach out for advice
Focus on engagement – find projects and activities that keep kids excited and curious.
Remember that learning happens all the time – children gain new skills and coping strategies outside of school lessons.
Read more advice from Dr. Pope and Challenge Success: