Summer Anxiety Busters: Simple Techniques for Kids and Teens

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Summer is often considered a time for relaxation and fun, but for some kids and teens, it can be a period filled with anxiety.

The lack of routine, pressure to socialize, or even the anticipation of the new school year can all contribute to feelings of stress.

Here are some simple yet effective anxiety busters to help manage and reduce anxiety during the summer months.

Establish a Routine for Kids and Teens with Anxiety

One of the biggest causes of anxiety during summer is the lack of structure. During the school year, kids and teens have a set schedule, which helps provide a sense of stability. When summer arrives, this structure disappears, leading to uncertainty.

Here are some ideas on how to create a summer routine for your kids.

Set a regular wake-up time

Try to wake up around the same time every day, even if it’s a bit later than during the school year. Establishing a consistent wake-up time helps maintain a routine and makes the day more predictable and less overwhelming. It also provides a sense of security and control, which can be especially calming for those with anxiety.

Plan activities

Make a weekly plan that includes activities like exercise, hobbies, and time with friends.  Engaging in structured activities gives kids and teens a sense of purpose, can prevent boredom, and help them stay engaged and distracted from anxious thoughts.

Schedule downtime

Include time for relaxation and rest throughout the day. Balancing active periods with downtime is especially critical for highly sensitive kids who need it to function well. Over-scheduling can lead to burnout, while too much free time can lead to excessive rumination. Try and maintain a good balance.

Stay Active

Exercise is a powerful tool for reducing anxiety. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood lifters.

Here are some fun ways to help your kids stay active this summer.


Encourage your child to join a local sports team or just play a game of basketball or soccer with friends. Regular physical activity improves overall health, including cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility, which contributes to a better physical state and can help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Engaging in team sports can also help your child develop social skills, build friendships, and create a sense of community.


Swimming is not only great exercise but also a fun summer activity. Activities like swim teams can provide social support, helping to build confidence and reduce anxiety through shared experiences. Learning and mastering new skills can also boost self-esteem and confidence making kids and teens feel more competent and capable.


Explore local trails and enjoy the beauty of nature. Exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood. It has a calming effect and helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Physical activity can also improve sleep quality, helping kids and teens fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about staying present and fully engaging with the moment. It can help reduce anxiety by keeping your child’s mind from worrying about the past or future.

Here are some simple mindfulness exercises you can try with your child.

Deep breathing

Take slow, deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale through your mouth. Mindfulness practices help calm the mind and reduce the body’s stress response. Techniques like deep breathing activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.


Have your child find a quiet place, sit comfortably, and focus on their breathing or a calming image. Mindfulness practices like meditation improve focus and concentration by training the mind to stay present. It helps in controlling attention, making it easier for kids and teens to stay engaged in activities and reduce mind-wandering associated with anxiety.

Gratitude journaling

Have your child write down three things they’re grateful for each day. This shifts their focus from worries to positive aspects of their life. Focusing on the positive can shift attention away from anxious thoughts and promote a more optimistic outlook.

Limit Screen Time for Kids and Teens with Anxiety

While it can be tempting to spend hours on their phone or computer, too much screen time can increase anxiety in your child. The constant stream of information and social media comparisons can be overwhelming.

Here are some tips for managing screen time.

Set limits

Decide how much time your child will spend on screens each day and stick to it. Excessive screen time, particularly on social media, can increase anxiety by exposing kids and teens to negative content, cyberbullying, and unrealistic comparisons with others. Reducing screen time helps decrease exposure to stressful news and information, contributing to lower overall stress levels.

Digital detox

Take breaks from screens, especially before bedtime. Digital detoxes encourage kids and teens to be more present and mindful, reducing the tendency to constantly check devices. Engaging in activities like reading, playing board games, or spending time in nature can have a calming effect.

Engage in offline activities

Find hobbies that don’t involve screens, like reading, drawing, or playing a musical instrument. Engaging in offline activities promotes face-to-face social interactions, which are crucial for developing strong social skills and building meaningful relationships. Positive social interactions can help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Connect with Friends and Family

Strong relationships are critical for mental health. Spending time with friends and family can provide support and help reduce feelings of anxiety.

Here are some ideas for social activities you can try.

Plan outings

Organize trips to the park, beach, or local events with friends or family. Spending time with family and friends provides a sense of belonging and emotional security, which is important for managing anxiety. Having a strong support network helps kids and teens feel understood and supported.

Have a movie night

Fun events like movie nights and outings help kids and teens relax and take a break from stressors. Spending time with family and friends provides opportunities to observe and learn positive coping strategies and behaviors from others.


Find local volunteer opportunities to help others and meet new people. Participating in volunteer activities helps kids and teens develop empathy and a sense of purpose, which can be empowering. Volunteering also fosters a sense of community and connection with others, which reduces feelings of isolation.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for mental and physical health. Lack of sleep can make anxiety worse, so it’s important to maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

Tips for better sleep include the following:

Stick to a schedule

I’ve already mentioned the benefits of setting a regular wake-up time. It helps regulate the body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up at consistent times. Regular sleep patterns improve the quality of sleep, which is essential for mental and emotional well-being.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine

A calming bedtime routine, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing mindfulness, helps signal to the body that it’s time to wind down. This can reduce anxiety and make it easier to fall asleep. Any activity that promotes relaxation makes it easier for kids and teens to transition to sleep.

Limit caffeine and screens before bed

Avoid caffeine in the evening and turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Screens emit blue light, which can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

Eat Well

What you eat can affect how you feel. A balanced diet can help keep your energy levels stable and your mood balanced.

Here are 3 healthy eating tips for your kids and teens.

Eat regular meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Eating regular meals helps maintain stable blood sugar levels, preventing the spikes and crashes that can affect mood and increase anxiety. Regularly fueling the body with balanced meals ensures consistent energy levels, reducing irritability and stress.

Include fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that support brain function and overall health. Nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins are particularly beneficial for reducing anxiety.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining cognitive function and mood. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

Engage in Creative Activities

Creative activities can be a great outlet for expressing emotions and reducing anxiety. Art, music, and writing allow for self-expression, helping kids and teens articulate feelings that might be difficult to verbalize.


Drawing, painting, or crafting are very therapeutic and provide a safe and constructive way for kids and teens to express their emotions. Completing a creative project can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment, which can counteract feelings of anxiety.


Playing an instrument, singing, or just listening to music can help calm the mind. Music has been shown to help in processing and understanding complex emotions, contributing to better emotional regulation and stability.


Keeping a journal or writing stories are a great way to process thoughts and feelings. Creative activities can serve as a healthy distraction, diverting attention away from anxious thoughts and providing a mental break. Being deeply engaged in a creative task can promote a more positive mental state.

Seek Professional Help if Needed for Your Child with Anxiety

Sometimes, anxiety can be overwhelming and too much to handle on your own. It’s important to know that it’s okay to seek help from a professional.

Here are three signs that it’s time to seek help for your child:

Persistent anxiety

If your child feels anxious most of the time and it’s affecting their daily life, it’s time to seek help. Early intervention can prevent anxiety from worsening and address it before it leads to more severe mental health issues.

Difficulty functioning

If anxiety is making it hard to go to school, hang out with friends, or enjoy activities, then seek out a child therapist who specializes in anxiety. She will address issues that interfere with daily functioning, such as difficulty concentrating, avoiding social situations, or struggling with academic or extracurricular activities. Online anxiety therapy can help develop essential skills for managing anxiety, including problem-solving, stress management, and emotional regulation.

Physical symptoms

If your child is experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbances, or fatigue related to anxiety, then it’s time to get help. A good child anxiety therapist for kids and teens can help manage these symptoms and address their underlying causes.

Summer should be a time of joy and relaxation, not stress and anxiety.

By establishing a routine, staying active, practicing mindfulness, limiting screen time, connecting with friends and family, getting enough sleep, eating well, engaging in creative activities, and seeking professional help if needed, kids and teens can reduce anxiety and make the most of their summer.

Remember, it’s important to take care of your child’s mental health (as well as your own) and seek support when you need it. Enjoy your summer with these simple anxiety-busting techniques!

Begin Online Anxiety Therapy for Kids and Teens in Illinois and Florida!

If your child or teen is struggling with anxiety, there is hope! Anxiety is highly treatable and online anxiety treatment at Briefly Counseling can help.

Using Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, I help kids and teens reduce their anxiety and build resilience so they can become a happier, more confident version of themselves.

And kids love being able to receive counseling from the comfort and privacy of their own home. Studies have consistently proven that online therapy delivers equal results to in-office counseling.

As an experienced and caring therapist, I love providing counseling for anxiety. To start your child’s counseling journey, call me at 224-236-2296 or email to schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation.

Helena Madsen, MA, LCPC is the founder of Briefly Counseling. I specialize in providing online short-term anxiety treatment for kids and teens ages 7 – 18 as well as Christian counseling.

 Whether you’re on the North Shore, in Naperville, Chicago, Champaign, Barrington, Libertyville, Glenview, or downstate Illinois, I can help.

And effective 2024, I am now licensed in Florida! For parents in Jacksonville, Pensacola, Destin, Crestview, Coral Gables, Weston, Parkland, Naples, Marco Island, and Pinecrest, I have immediate openings.

Schedule your appointment or consultation today. I look forward to working with your child to quickly and effectively help them in activating their strengths, resources, and resilience, in order to live with confidence and hope.