Summer is the perfect time to help our children empty their emotional backpacks. We all have them, right?
Sometimes they're heavy, zippered up and digging into our shoulders. Weighing us down. Sometimes they're falling open, light as can be. Almost not there.
They empty. They fill up. Sometimes for a while. Sometimes they drag.
Even though we may think kids have it easier, their backpacks can actually feel the heaviest. After all, they often get thrown problems they aren't emotionally ready to solve. Some problems that seem small to us feel very big to our children.
Emptying Kids' Emotional Backpacks This Summer
It's always good to empty our backpacks. But for kids, summer can be the perfect time to really unload, learn, grow and start fresh.
As parents, we can help. First, I help them feel safe, loved and comfortable enough to truly let out their emotions. You know when you've squirreled away some deep-seated feeling, someone gives you a big hug, and you just seem to unravel? It's the same for kids. Really, it is.
So just as I do when they get home from school, I try to keep a stress-free, relaxed environment so they can rest, regroup, and work through feelings they may have stuffed away during their busy days.
With summer, the warm sun, playtime, pool, camps and other fun activities give our kids' bodies and minds a much-needed break, time to regroup, time to make sense of things they may have stuffed away during the hustle and bustle of the school year.
Free time and a safe place, along with laughter, love and fun can certainly recharge all of us. It helps us feel lighter, happier and closer.
The Magic Happens When We Connect
And when our children are feeling closer and connecting with us–that's when the magic happens.
So I'm really focusing and using the summer to recharge and help my kids work through what may be weighing them down or stressing them out. As I like to say about marriages too, if someone in the partnership or group is feeling something, then it's real to them. There's no right or wrong when it comes to feelings. So the feelings are important and need to be addressed.
The school year is filled with lots of stimulating activity and work for kids. Sitting in on a few classes recently, I was reminded about how much focus and rule-following–and work!–is required for even our youngest ones.
So join me in letting them be free this summer. Relax! Play! Be bored! Get creative! Give them the time, space and tools to open their backpacks, see what's in there, and clean them out.
And while I'm at it, I'm going to clean out my own too!
How do you help your kids recharge and feel better about what may be troubling them? What do you have planned for the summer? We'd love for you to share your tips!
Image courtesy of Flickr.