For young people, summer days can be a great time to recharge and refresh, but they can also feel stressful, overwhelming, and unstructured – sometimes even more so than the rest of the year.
To help shed light on this, we asked Rebecca Chan, WoodGreen’s Youth Wellness Program Coordinator, to share stress-reduction and mental wellness tips to help anyone supporting a young person this summer and beyond.
- Learn more about our Youth Wellness Centre.
Find a Safe Space
It can be difficult for youth to know where to go to find solace, especially if they’re experiencing trouble at home. In any case, most kids can greatly benefit from a space to call their own that’s away from their main residence.
Whether it’s a friend’s house, library, or a day program, finding a place that makes you feel safe, supported, and inspired is key. WoodGreen’s Youth Wellness Centre offers weekly drop-in programs throughout the year that give young people the chance to socialize with friends, participate in activities, and learn new skills. The City of Toronto also offers multiple day and evening programs for youth to socialize with other kids their age.
Limit Screen Time
Studies have shown that too much time spent on social media and other screen-focused activities can have a negative effect on mood and overall well-being.
This summer, you can help the young people in your life by encouraging them to set goals around reducing screen time and putting more time into other activities. This could be housework, outdoor activities, playing a game, or enjoying a meal – anything that allows them to disconnect from technology for a little bit. It’s likely that you’ll notice a more positive demeanour in your child and even leave more space for connecting on a deeper level.
If you’re able to, get involved in the challenge and lead by example by eliminating tech at a certain time on weeknights or during weekends.
Get Ahead of the Game
It’s common for kids to feel overwhelmed by the change in pace once September rolls around. School, work, extra-curriculars, volunteer hours, and family commitments can be difficult to balance, and the stress often comes at the expense of self-care.
The best way to combat and reduce this added pressure is to knock a few of these items off your list during the summer months, if possible. Staying up to date with programming, volunteering, and making connections can help youth be better prepared and reduce the number of items on their checklist once the school year begins. It can also place them ahead of the pack and allow them to get things done in advance of deadlines.
For high school students, getting community service hours completed during the summer is a great way to ensure that they’ll be able to handle their other commitments during the school year. WoodGreen and thousands of other organizations across the city are always looking for volunteers!
For any student, getting involved in tutoring during the summer can also help deepen understanding and eliminate negative feelings during the year. WoodGreen’s Youth Wellness Centre is a great way for youth to receive homework support, tick some tasks off their to-do list, and have fun doing it.
Finding the program that’s right for each individual person is paramount and can change a youth’s outlook significantly.