Fostering Family Connections This Summer

Category: Play Therapy

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With social distancing becoming the new norm, many people are left wondering what they can do this summer to stay connected with their family.  This can be challenging for both children and adults and it is important to remember that it is still necessary to take breaks, relax and have fun in the sun. 

Can you think of ways that you have been able to connect with your family during COVID times?  If you cannot think of anything you are not alone.  Below are some suggestions of things you can share and new outdoor adventures to explore to keep your family engaged, healthy, happy, and connected this summer.

One way that families can stay connected this summer is through music.  Often, children and their parents have very different tastes in music.  This does not mean that one is better than the other, just that we are were all born at different times, and usually musical preferences relate to certain years or time periods in people’s lives.  This is a great opportunity to share music with your family, so you can learn different types of music, and hear the stories that are often connected to one’s favorite type of music.

There are numerous documentaries that have been created on different types of music, or musical artists that give a visual representation of what the music is and the history behind songs, song writers and musicians.  I highly encourage all families to take some time sharing their favorite music with one another this summer.  It is important that everyone can share a song, or musical genre that they favor.  It can also open up conversations about why you like the music you favor, and any stories of how you were first exposed to the music or memories that you associate with music.  Music is also a wonderful coping mechanism that many use to put themselves in a calm and relaxing state.

Another idea for staying connected this summer, is to go on new adventures outside.  Talk to each family member to see if there is a place that they have always wanted to go and explore.  If nothing comes to mind, you can always do a basic google search on “outdoor recreation and hobbies”.  When I did a basic internet search, I was amazed to find a litany of activities to do outdoors.  Some of these activities include: going hiking, camping, mountain biking, bird watching, cycling, snorkeling, fishing, fruit picking, playing horse shoes or bocce ball, and having a nerf gun or water balloon competition.  Don’t hesitate to be creative and try new things.  Also, if you tend to stay close to home while enjoying the outdoors, you may want to explore areas that are within a 1-2-hour drive from your location.  The experience of traveling to a new place and trying something new can be extremely exciting and reduce stress. 

The important thing to remember this summer is all though social distancing protocol will remain in place for the summer, there are still numerous ways to have fun, reduce stress and make and create lasting memories with your family.  It is important that every family member have the opportunity to explore an area of interest to them, and that family members be open to trying new things and open to learning about what other family members enjoy such as their favorite tune or hike up a mountain. Most importantly enjoy your summer.

By: Amber Sanner, MS, LMFT