Straight Talk: Navigating the Unexpected Summer

HEALTH

In this edition of ‘Straight Talk with Rhesa and Edwina’ we discuss how to successfully navigate a Summer with so many unknowns. The COVID-19 pandemic restructured life as we knew it, including our summer plans. The sheltering-at-home directive compelled families to revamp their practices and routines to accommodate for everyone spending a lot of time together and being in the same space for extended periods of time. Most children had not even returned to school from Spring Break, when this happened, so Spring Break conceptually rolled right into summer break, in effect creating a 6-month summer. 

Many people have cancelled their normal summer plans and trips, and the typical things they engage in over the summer will not be the case this year. These shifts became bigger than ‘just’ the pandemic, as it forced families to reconsider their priorities and the way they function in daily life.  In order to navigate these changes, parents will need to reconstruct a new set of principles that if followed, would work to help them parent through the summer and in this new way of life. Given the fact that many families have been financially impacted, these principles would include redefining the priorities in their lives and restructuring what spending time together looks like. 

Readjusting their budgets, learning new ways of having fun by engaging in things that don’t cost money, creating new family goals, and communicating more often are some principles for this time. Also, coming up with ways to deal with familial and parental stress due to the changes – parents giving each other breaks or massages, or designating quiet time or parent time can help. 

Rhesa and Edwina both have some great suggestions and what to do with the new found “extra time.”

“In addition to redefining principles, it would be helpful for parents to set realistic expectations for their family about the kind of summer that they will be having.  It would be prudent for them to let go of guilt and the could’ve-beens, and if-onlys regarding previous summer plans. Doing so will help to ease stress and worry, as well as the burden of always keeping their children entertained (it’s okay for children to experience boredom every once in awhile). Talking to their children about learning to “make do” with what they have and capitalizing on this is important.

Rallying around the idea of things that CAN be done as opposed to things they will no longer get to do, is another much needed and healthy shift, perhaps even helping them to refocus on giving back to others & the community.  This is a good time for resurrecting old board games and cards, or other games like charades, planning movie nights or nighttime walks, and star gazing.  Families can get out in nature together – go to the beach, on a hike, pedal boating, and fishing.  They can work on projects together, like house beautification, or planting a garden. Perhaps they can even have contests with their neighbors like who has the best-looking yard or most curb appeal?”

It’s helpful for parents to talk with other parents about the way that they are navigating the changes in their lives.  Additionally, they can get formal support through a therapist or life coach.  Hooko’s Counseling Center also provides services for these types of situations.  Often people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances.  If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Hooko’s office at 808-375-7712 or visit online at www.hookollc.com

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