Understanding Summer Anxiety from an IL Child Therapist

Photo of anxious Caucasian boy sitting on a window ledge with his arms on his knees. Photo could represent summer anxiety and the need for online anxiety counseling for kids in Illinois or Florida.

Summer is often seen as a time for fun, relaxation, and a break from the stressful demands of school. However, for many kids and teens, the summer months can bring about unexpected feelings of anxiety.

While it may seem surprising, summer anxiety is a real phenomenon that affects many young people. Understanding what summer anxiety is, what causes it, and how to alleviate it can help us parents support our kids and teens through this challenging time.

What is Summer Anxiety?

Summer anxiety refers to feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease that some kids and teens experience during the summer months. These feelings can be just as intense and disruptive as anxiety experienced during the school year.

Instead of the relief and freedom often associated with summer, these young individuals may find the lack of structure and changes in routine overwhelming.

Causes of Summer Anxiety in Kids and Teens

Here are the most common causes of summer anxiety in kids and teens:

Change in Routine

One of the primary causes of summer anxiety is the significant change in routine. During the school year, kids and teens have a structured schedule that includes classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and regular social interactions.

When summer arrives, this structure disappears, leading to a lack of routine that can be unsettling. The predictability of the school year is replaced with uncertainty, which can cause anxiety for those who rely on a consistent daily schedule to feel secure.

Social Pressures

Summer is often filled with social activities like camps, sports, and social gatherings. For kids and teens who struggle with social anxiety, these situations can be highly stressful.

The pressure to fit in, make new friends, or participate in social activities can be overwhelming. Additionally, the fear of being judged or rejected by peers can contribute to anxiety.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

Social media plays a significant role in summer anxiety. Kids and teens often see posts of their friends having fun and engaging in exciting activities, which can lead to feelings of exclusion and inadequacy.

The fear of missing out on fun experiences can make them feel anxious and unhappy with their own summer activities.

Academic Concerns

Even though school is out for the summer, some kids and teens continue to worry about academic performance.

Concerns about retaining knowledge learned during the school year, upcoming academic challenges, or summer assignments can create anxiety. The pressure to stay academically engaged during the break can be very strong.

Family Dynamics

Spending more time at home during the summer can sometimes highlight family tensions or conflicts. If the home environment is stressful or unsupportive, it can exacerbate feelings of anxiety.

Additionally, changes in family dynamics, such as a parent working more hours or a family member being away, can contribute to uneasiness.

Boredom and Lack of Purpose

Without the structure of school, some kids and teens may feel bored or aimless. The lack of engagement and purpose can lead to restlessness and anxiety.

They may struggle to find meaningful activities to fill their time, leading to feelings of frustration and anxiety about wasting their summer.

Transitions and Changes

Summer often brings significant life changes, such as moving to a new home, transitioning to a new school, or changes in family structure like divorce.

These transitions can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. The uncertainty and fear of the unknown associated with these changes can make summer a difficult time for many kids and teens.

Sleep Disruptions

Changes in sleep patterns during the summer can also contribute to anxiety. Staying up late and sleeping in can disrupt the body’s natural rhythm, leading to poor sleep quality.

Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and affect overall mood.

Physical Inactivity

During the school year, kids and teens often get regular physical activity through sports and physical education classes. In the summer, this routine may change, leading to decreased physical activity.

Physical exercise is known to reduce anxiety and improve mood, so a lack of activity can contribute to increased anxiety levels.

Tips for Alleviating Summer Anxiety from an Online Anxiety Counselor for Kids and Teens in IL and FL

There are a number of things we as parents can do to alleviate summer anxiety such as:

Establish a Routine

Creating a daily or weekly schedule can help provide structure and a sense of predictability.

Including a balance of activities, such as leisure, physical exercise, and learning opportunities, can help kids and teens feel more secure and engaged. Having a routine can reduce the uncertainty that contributes to anxiety.

Encourage Social Interaction

Facilitating positive social experiences can help kids and teens build confidence and reduce social anxiety. Arrange playdates, group activities, or camps where they can interact with peers in a supportive environment.

Encouraging them to participate in activities they enjoy can also help them feel more comfortable and less anxious.

Limit Screen Time

Reducing screen time, especially on social media, can help alleviate feelings of FOMO. Encourage activities that do not involve screens, such as outdoor play, reading, or creative hobbies.

Limiting exposure to social media can help kids and teens focus on their own experiences rather than comparing themselves to others.

Promote Physical Activity

Ensuring that kids and teens get regular exercise can significantly reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being. Encourage activities like swimming, biking, hiking, or playing sports.

Physical activity helps release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, and can help reduce feelings of anxiety.

Provide Learning Opportunities

Engaging kids and teens in educational activities or hobbies can help alleviate academic concerns. Summer learning programs, online courses, or educational games can keep their minds active and reduce anxiety about falling behind academically.

Encouraging them to pursue interests and hobbies can also provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Support Emotional Health

Creating an open and supportive environment where kids and teens feel comfortable discussing their feelings is crucial. Encourage open communication about their anxieties and offer reassurance and understanding.

Teaching coping strategies, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness, can help them manage their anxiety.

Address Family Dynamics

Working on improving family relationships and resolving conflicts can create a more supportive home environment.

Encourage family activities that promote bonding and understanding. Providing a stable and nurturing environment can help reduce anxiety levels.

Seek Anxiety Counseling for Kids

If anxiety is severe or persistent, it may be helpful to seek support from a child anxiety therapist. Virtual therapy sessions for kids and teens with anxiety at Briefly Counseling can provide strategies and support tailored to your child’s needs.

Child anxiety therapy can be especially important for kids and teens experiencing significant anxiety or those who have difficulty coping with their feelings.

In conclusion, summer anxiety in kids and teens is a real and challenging issue that can affect their overall well-being. Understanding the causes of summer anxiety, such as changes in routine, social pressures, and family dynamics, is crucial in addressing this problem.

By establishing routines, encouraging social interaction, limiting screen time, promoting physical activity, providing learning opportunities, supporting emotional health, and seeking child anxiety treatment in IL and FL when needed, we can help alleviate summer anxiety and ensure that our kids and teens have a more enjoyable and less stressful summer.

Supporting young people through these challenges can make a significant difference in their mental health and overall happiness.

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 Helena@BrieflyCounseling.com 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.