The promise of summer is stress-free fun in the sun. Olympia Therapy knows from experience, that summer has its own sets of challenges and stressors. Schedules continuously vary and sleeping times get disregarded. Your children have growth spurts, and your work has on-going demands. Cary Hamilton, Olympia Therapy owner and licensed therapist, is offering Playful Wisdom’s Summer of Connection, a free eight-week program that guides parents through the trajectory of summer. It will be the seventh annual offering with new ideas, tips and videos supporting those with children through this segment of the year.

a kid relaxing in a hammock attached to three large poles in a teepee shape
Summer can be a time to relax and reconnect with your children. Playful Wisdom from Olympia Therapy offers a free 8-week program that guides parents through the trajectory of summer. Photo courtesy: Olympia Therapy

Sign Up for Free Parenting Program in Thurston County through Olympia Therapy

The two-month Playful Wisdom Summer of Connection program beginning July anticipates the progression of summer moods and issues. There is no cost to take advantage of all the information. “It is completely free,” says Cary. You just need to sign up. Each session includes a brief video with owner Cary Hamilton speaking about a specific topic and ways to deal with it. You can watch and listen to all the content at your own convenience.

“I am walking the talk, including dealing with neurodivergent tweens,” says Cary. Her children are 11 and 13. She also does work from home, so she speaks from real life experiences.

Playful Wisdom can help you reconnect or connect more meaningfully with your children.

Some over-scheduled youths are not getting enough time to rest and unwind. Others are left alone to play video games all day. Neither extreme offers positive mental health.

When issues arise, there is often the desire for a quick fix and a release of any struggle. It’s even harder to manage life when everyone is tired. Summer can actually be a time and space to bring improved health and well-being, rather than adding stress. Summer of Connection is here to help you along the way.

Free Parental Tips and Support From Olympia Therapy

Boredom is a Good Thing

“Children have to get bored to get moved to do something,” suggests Cary. Boredom nudges people to their creative side, because they have to think. It may initially involve whining. That’s okay. Your child may be expecting you to entertain them in between other activities. That is not your job. You might be thinking, “But what do I do?” That’s why you might want to view the material from Playful Wisdom.

kids walking along a large fallen tree
Learn to cope when your kids say, ‘I’m bored.’ Olympia Therapy’s free summer program for parents called Playful Wisdom offers information and suggestions for dealing with the challenges of summer and your growing children. Photo courtesy: Olympia Therapy

Saying ‘No’ is Powerful

A parent’s role is to set limits and boundaries. A child’s job is to test them. It can be hard to hold your ground, but it is important in so many ways, especially in the long term. Learning to say “No” is necessary, and many parents could use support on this.

Technology and Mental Health for Children

You may want to know the ways and extent your child is using social media. This does not mean shutting off your internet. However, unrestricted access to the internet takes its toll on children’s psychological health as well as becoming dangerous when certain information is shared. Too much screen time cuts into actual human interactions and ability to make genuine connections. Additionally, hours of screen time are linked to the development of myopia – nearsightedness – in children and teenagers. It grows progressively worse over time.

Why Play is Important

Maybe you had unstructured time in your childhood, but it seems rarer these days. Through simply playing, life is practiced and skills are learned. Playful Wisdom has great suggestions for this topic.

parents and kids on the floor playing a card game
Getting on the floor with your children to play or do crafting is a stress-relieving way to enjoy time together. Olympia Therapy’s Playful Wisdom supports parents on the challenges of summer with kids at home. Photo courtesy: Olympia Therapy

The Gift of Failure

Let your kids make mistakes. It’s part of life. Actions produce consequences and children grow their resilience when they face the results of their actions. Saving your kids from mistakes or failure is not preparing them to move confidently into the next stages of their development. Your child’s failures are not yours, though that may take time to understand and believe.

Ever Present Anxiety in Youth

“Anxiety is booming right now,” says Cary. Youth are anxious about growing up, making friends, doing well in school, the environment and political tensions. Anxiety may be at the core of our being, but it does not have to be that way. Having anxiety is a necessary part of growing up.

Learning about your child’s developmental age can be helpful. Parents may want their 5-year-old, who can speak quite effectively, to act like a 9-year-old. But they’re not. Two-year-olds may have temper tantrums. Eleven-year-olds may be goofy or sassy as they get ready to enter middle school. Parents can learn to balance expectations to be in line with the brain and social development of their children. COVID delayed emotional and cognitive growth but did not slow down physical growth. It gets confusing.

two kids sit by a campfire with sticks, a hammock and tent are in the background
Learn new ways to connect with your children over the summer vacation with Olympia Therapy. Photo courtesy: Olympia Therapy

Being Mindful

Taking time together to simply be rather than doing something takes practice. You don’t have to be in motion every minute of the day. There are many to practice mindfulness, and Playful Wisdom will give you more information.

Dealing with Entitlements

Just because your child asks for something doesn’t mean they get it. Parents are not meant to solve every problem or fix every situation. It’s hard to be in the discomfort of your child, and it’s part of being a wise parent. Having all your children’s needs met and problems solved quickly by others leads to adults who are selfish and uncooperative.

Sleep and Self Care

We can all use reminders to take care of ourselves. It allows us to better take care of each other. Self-care may not be hard, but it may pose a challenge to fit it into your day.

When school ends, Playful Wisdom’s Summer of Connection begins. You can sign up here for the free parenting program by Olympia Therapy. Savor the flavors of summer with your family.

Olympia Therapy encourages you to seek therapy for better mental health.

Olympia Therapy
1534 Bishop Road SW, Tumwater


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