End of Summer Blues

End of Summer Blues

by Kathy Green

The end-of-summer blues: the general despondency that is felt during the transition from summer routines (beach, sun, fun) to fall routines (school, structure, change). While some adults openly feel these blues when returning to work, children also experience the end-of-summer blues when thinking about returning to school, and unlike adults, they might not openly tell you about it. As September creeps in, the blues will show in their behaviour: trouble sleeping, not wanting to get up in the morning, abnormal aggression towards siblings and tantrums. Addressing the end-of-summer blues will make the summer to fall transition much easier on your child.

The first thing you can do to get rid of the blues is to get your child involved in planning and preparing for the new school year. Setting up a homework or chore chart, planning playdates, and shopping for clothes and school supplies are examples of the planning and preparing you can do with your child. Making them feel involved might increase enthusiasm towards the imminent end of summer.

A good way to transition between summer and fall is to reflect with your child of all the good times that you had this summer. Talking about the trips to the beach, family barbeques and ice cream will help soak in the idea that summer was merely a moment in time, and though it was a great moment, it is time to move forward. To balance the reflecting, also talk about the things that won’t be missed when September comes, like sweaty days and mosquitos, showing that the arrival of autumn can be a good thing.

Throwing an end-of-summer party is also a great way to ward off the blues in your children. Marking the end of summer with a barbeque or a beach party will provide a sense of closure to your kids. By this time, the end of summer should be bittersweet; if a child still has the blues at this point, then the anxiety that they feel towards the start of school should be addressed. Don’t try to cheer up your child by inadvertently dismissing their worries. Listen to what they have to say and sympathise. Part of receiving closure from summer is talking about the difficult feelings and being supportive during this time. After facing these feelings, the blues should diminish by the beginning of the school year.

When school starts, begin making vacation plans for the near future. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it will serve as extra motivation to begin the fall with a positive attitude. For example, many families have plans confirmed for the Thanksgiving weekend by the end of the summer. With the summer closure and the anticipated fall break, kids will realize that summer may be over, but there are other breaks and fun filled days to look forward to. Simple as that.. no more end-of summer blues!