WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – It’s the first week off school for many children. While having no school is something many students have been looking forward to for months, all that free time might not be as good as they thought.
“75% of these kids’ school days have been structured down to the minute,” said Maggi Rocha, a certified advanced practice social worker at the Behavioral Health Clinic.
When the children leave their school on the last day, they also leave behind the structure. Many students find that the free time in the summer is not all they expected.
“When the novelty wears off, they can feel apathetic. They can feel like I don’t know what I’m going to do. They can feel isolated,” Rocha said.
Rocha said socialization and structure are especially important for young children.
“You’re going to see that, more often, with younger kids than with older kids and the reason I’m saying that is because younger kids are really used to that structure and that instant gratification that comes from , ‘oh I “I do this thing and oh I do the next thing,” Rocha said.
Involving your children in summer programs is one way to help them improve their mental health.
Around 200 children attend the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau region in the summer.
“We have a ton of kids who come in the summer to fulfill their time, providing them with that structure, a sense of belonging, and that socialization,” said Rochelle Alger, director of social-emotional learning at the Boys & Girls Club. .
Luke Johnson is part of their youth development team and helps create programs.
“My favorite part of working with kids is definitely building relationships with them and watching them grow,” said Luke Johnson, youth development staff member at the Boys & Girls Club of Wausau.
Mentors are there to help you when teachers and counselors are not on time for the summer.
“Throughout the day, the staff here will incorporate any type of social-emotional learning program into what they do with the children every day,” Alger said.
Alger said the Boys & Girls Club gives kids the socialization and sense of belonging they need when they’re not in school.
If you notice your child having trouble adjusting to summer, the Wausau Behavioral Health Clinic says that’s completely normal, especially during the first month off. They recommend structuring your child’s life with a consistent sleep schedule, regular mealtimes, and age-appropriate chores.
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