As September nears, and with it, the whirlwind that is back-to-school, a lot of us feel the flutter of stress and anxiety that comes with end-of-summer blues. Even for us adults, shifting into a different schedule (one that includes more time schlepping the kiddos to school and back, and less time hanging by the river with a picnic) can be challenging – but do you remember what it felt like as a kid? For many kids, the sunny summer months mean endless playtime, unsupervised adventuring with friends and cousins, later bedtimes, possibly more special treats like yummy finger foods..., and did we mention no homework? Yikes! No wonder end-of-summer blues strike at this time of year. So what can you do as a family to smooth out the ride? Read on for three ways to cope, naturally.
Schedule time for unscheduled fun
One of the most enjoyable parts of summer is giving ourselves permission to wake up in the morning with no special plans for the family – because you know that anything you choose to do will be fun, be it an afternoon of berry picking, a stroll down to the ocean, or a trip to the farmer's market. So when end-of-summer rolls around, make sure you leave time and space for impromptu, spur-of-the-moment activities.
Commit to spending time outside
No wonder we feel so vibrant and energized in the summer: we tend to spend a whole lot more time outside in nature, breathing in the fresh air and feeling the elements on our skin. Can you commit to continue spending more time outside, even as end-of-summer nears? It might take a bit more effort than just throwing on a sunhat, but if you're willing to swap your swimsuit for rain gear, you and your fam could reap the benefits of the great outdoors, like relaxation and more energy.
Try out a family end-of-summer ritual
To better cope with end-of-summer blues, consider creating a family ritual to look forward to – you could even make this a community gathering by inviting other friends and families to join you. Think something simple like a potluck where all of you get to share a special memory from the summer, and what you most look forward to this upcoming school year.
Finally, there's a lot you can do year-round to ride out the end-of-summer blues: living closely with the seasons and eating local helps to stay connected to the time and place you're in, making transitions easier and more welcome. Allowing more self-care into your life, be it through relaxing baths or regular massages exchanged with your partner also help release the end-of-summer blues. Learning healthy ways to cope sets a great example for your kids – and moving through the end-of-summer blues could even bring your family closer!