Summer is Over. Now What?

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, August 25, 2021
By Nicole Herdocia-Oria , RMFTI, MS

Summer is over. Well, at least Summer, as in those few months during which “the Purge” happens because the children :coughs: terrors are set loose on parents while school is out!

cupcakes with rainbow

This summer seems more hectic and stressful than others. Maybe because we’re having to work from home, with our children at home with us, (queue horror music) and typical family trips and or activities are canceled because of this super cute pandemic. Due to these abnormal circumstances, it makes sense that stress levels are higher than usual at the start of this new school year for many families. By making positive and relatively easy adjustments to our routine as we transition into the new school year, we can help

  • reduce some of that stress
  • maintain peace at home
  • while taking care of you and your family’s mental, emotional and physical well-being.

How you ask? I’ll tell you

Here we go:

Spend quality time together as a family. 

I know this is very hard to do for many of us. But this is again at the top of my list for a reason! One-on-one time is amazing to help us feel like we’re getting the emotional connection we crave. Doing something everyone enjoys, such as cooking or listening to music. Shoot for 10-15 minutes a day. Getting up just 10 minutes earlier and having breakfast together, reading a bedtime story, having a game night, family dinners are all ways we can try to connect with our kids. If we can carve out that little bit of extra time it can make a world of difference.

Routine Routine Routine.

As much as possible, try to stick to a set daily routine. If the kids have an idea of how their day will go, they will be better equipped and prepared for their daily tasks and schedules. If you can incorporate their help on the sequence of things, they will feel proactive in the process as well as more autonomous making them more likely to follow the routines and rules you set up together. Would you rather get dressed or eat breakfast first? Involve kids in decisions. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to their ideas. Negotiate. Kids who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.

Self Care, Self Care, Self Care!

Eating Healthier will help us stay physically healthy and have the energy levels to face whatever comes your way more efficiently. Fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains go a long way. Exercise helps keep depression and anxiety at bay by increasing your self-esteem, releasing mood-enhancing endorphins with just moving with 20 minutes of cardio a day. By doing some of these activities together, you kill 2 birds with one stone. A few things to help keep us moving together are yoga, walking, playing outside, and living room freeze dance parties (our favorite). My 4-year-old requests “Salsa” and “Chacha Slide” while my 3-year-old prefers Lady GagaMoana, and Flamenco. We keep it diverse up in here because it’s good magic.

Make Communication a Priority

We can’t expect kids to do everything simply because you, as a parent, “say so.” They want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. Parents who take time to talk things out and encourage kids to ask questions, allow them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental way. The more we check in with everyone about how they’re feeling, the more comfortable they will be to ask those questions and seek understanding which also helps reduce stress.


Do not underestimate the power of sleep!

When a child is well-rested, the behavior can significantly improve. When an adult is groggy or exhausted, we can show signs of higher levels of irritability, fatigue, lack of focus, and lack of patience, to name a few. The same goes for children. Only their signs are more manifested through behaviors like tantrums, crankiness, moodiness, lack of appetite, and trouble focusing in school. It’s important to know how much sleep your child needs. Well-rested kids tend to be well-behaved and function better at school. Gradually starting bedtime 10-15 minutes earlier can help acclimate them without really noticing the difference.

According to the National Sleep Foundation going to bed at the same time every night can help regulate our internal clock improving restful sleep for both kids and adults alike. According to these sleep experts, adults need 7-9 hours per night of sleep. Kids typically require a minimum of 9 hours per night for optimum functioning.

Incorporating these simple self-care and self-reflecting activities into our family routines can significantly reduce stress levels, fears, and insecurities. And, we can improve our mood, energy levels, overall emotional health, physical health, and general well-being.

Note to my own amazing kids (4 and 3 going on 15:facepalm emoji:):

Mommy loves you more than anything. I would burn with the fire of a thousand suns before ever letting anything happen to you. That being said, Thank God school is back and you’re out of the house. I won’t have to face the wrath of those suns! (Queue mom guilt.)

Stay present my friends.

Make every moment count!


Nikki Herdocia-Oria


“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives.  It’s what we do consistently.” – Anthony J Robbins