Is therapy right for your child?
There are a lot of reasons children can benefit from therapy. If they are seeming overwhelmed frequently, like multiple areas of their lives are a struggle for them, that could be one indication that they could use some professional support. Others would be things like engaging in self destructive behaviors (this could be things like pulling their own hair, picking at their skin, etc.). Or if they are withdrawing from social activities they normally like to engage in–things like seeing friends or attending clubs or playing sports, etc. Drastic changes in sleeping or eating habits can also signify that there is something going on that they need support with.
And there are numerous benefits to child therapy. Some ways child therapy could benefit your child include:
- Helping them to become more responsible for their behaviors
- Aiding them in learning successful coping strategies for when they need them
- Giving them the tools to name and understand their emotions
- Helping them to develop and strengthen their creative problem solving skills
- Support as they develop respect & acceptance for themselves and others
- Support as they strengthen their social and relational skills
Of course, the way your child will benefit from therapy will be unique to them! But those are general ways in which child therapists offer support and resources to kids.
But when is a good time to get started?
The good news? Summer is a great time for your child to get started with therapy. Why? Here are five reasons.
There’s more availability in summer:
In general, summer isn’t as restricted as the school year! In the school year when you’re juggling parent schedules with kid’s school, along with after school activities like clubs and sports and time with friends–as well as other responsibilities like doctors appointments, etc.–the school year can get hectic quick. In summer, while there are definitely still things going on–and you may have to factor in things like summer camp or summer sports, there is a lot more open unrestricted time on your child’s schedule. That means there’s more flexibility when your child can make an appointment.
It’s a new positive adult figure:
It’s important for children to have positive relationships with trusted adults, as we know that intergenerational relationships have lots of social benefits. During the school year kids often find these figures in their teachers, aides, or coaches at school. But in the summer, especially if they aren’t participating in any sort of camp or scheduled activity, those roles disappear. Your child starting with a therapist in the summer can help them develop another positive relationship with a trusted adult.
Their free time allows for more reflection:
Kids are busy during the school year! Especially preteens and teenagers. Balancing going to school, seeing friends, after school clubs and sports and homework is a lot. And it doesn’t leave a lot of spare time for introspection and reflection. Since summer is a time where they have less demands on their time and fewer responsibilities, they can engage in that sort of deep thinking more easily and thoroughly.
It will teach them coping skills before the school year starts again:
Does your child struggle in school and that’s part of what they need support with? Getting them into therapy before the big stressors come back can help get ahead of the game and help them to feel more prepared and confident in their ability to manage their schoolwork. A therapist can help them identify the areas they need support earlier on and be proactive with them so that when school comes around again they have tools and resources to aid them.
Natural “in between” state lend itself well to reflection:
The pause between school years is a great time to look back on what your child did well, what was difficult for them, and what their goals are for next year. They can explore questions like:
- What did they think of their last school year?
- What did they struggle with?
- What are they anticipating in the new school year?
- What are they worried about?
If you’re looking to get your child support this summer, our therapists can help! Having the guidance and support of a therapist can be a huge source of safety, especially in times of transition.
About The Author
Noreen Iqbal, LCSW is the owner and director of the Olive Branch Therapy Group. Noreen works with adolescents, young adults, adults, families and couples. If you are interested in working with Noreen, contact us via email, phone or chat on our website.