Summertime as a parent can bring a wide range of emotions!
The relief of a more relaxed schedule can quickly turn into suddenly finding yourself overwhelmed with how to keep your child(ren) engaged. Maybe, we try to jampack the summer with camps and vacations to keep everyone afloat until that first day of school, filling the time with fun and endearing memories. How can you release yourself from the obligation to keep your child constantly entertained or engaged and begin to grow in empathy with your child?
It can be tough, for both parent and child to step away from the constant hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Trying to avoid the summertime classic hit “I’m bored,” “Play with me,” and “There’s nothing to do” from getting stuck on replay? When a child expresses boredom or disinterest, it can be an opportunity to grow in empathy and provide a teachable moment. View it as an opportunity to transform boredom into an appreciation for the space and to connect with one another.
- First, be sure to acknowledge the feelings of your little one. “You know we have been busy with a lot of fun activities lately, it is hard to have nothing fun to do right now.”
- Next, listen for their response, and offer a moment to reflect on all the fun memories. “It is nice to remember all the fun we had together.”
- Finally, offer a space to connect, either together or alone. “Would you like to do something quiet and calm together or alone?”
A tried and true childhood classic, and a personal favorite of mine, is the bedtime (or anytime!) story. It’s an excellent opportunity to slow down and create space for connection. You can laugh together, get curious, discuss the characters and emotions of the characters, create side stories or even new stories.
The summer season can be fun and exciting, and also a great time to slow down. Breathe. Sit in the space between the quiet and chaos of life. Trust yourself to find a balance that works best for you and your family. Use it as an opportunity to grow empathy between you and your child.
Some of my favorite empathy reads:
- The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
- Gaston by Kelli Depucchio
- Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds
- In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
- Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
By Cassie Castro, LPC
Are you interested in learning more about Cassie Castro, LPC? Read her bio to learn more about her background and the services she offers at Brittani Persha Counseling.
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