6 tips for staying in touch during summer break

A woman writing in a journal

Summer is upon us, meaning students of all ages are flooding out of classrooms for a break from studying, tests and all-nighters. Yet, for many, especially those students of college age, summer is also a time when they are separated from all of their friends.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways students can stay in touch with their friends this summer – no matter where they are living. Check out our list of six tips and ideas for keeping friendships alive over the break:

1. Create and trade a summer journal
This is great for students of all ages. Before leaving school, friends can buy a notebook or two – they can even create their own cover art – that they will send to one another throughout the summer months. Participants can write journal entries, draw, collage, include poems or more to share their experiences during the season. It will be a great way for friends to have a tangible means for looking back on specific periods in their lives.

2. Write letters or postcards
Email is an easy way to keep abreast of what's going on in friends' lives, but students can consider mixing it up and mailing letters or postcards. This way, loved ones will benefit from the excitement of receiving something in the mail besides a bill. Bonus: Studies show the physical act of writing can support memory retention more so than typing. So, writing out thoughts during the summer or expressing feelings to a friend via a postcard can be a more meaningful and long-lasting form of communication.

3. Start an Instagram album
For those individuals who love social media, New Moon Girls suggested connecting with friends over Instagram. With the photo aggregator, students can share summer experiences visually – and see friends' smiling faces every day. They can even choose a hashtag that expresses something about their group of friends to create their own summer album. When loading a picture on Instagram, they just include the special hashtag and it will be saved alongside all of their friends' photos that have the same hashtag. So, when looking to quickly catch up with friends, friends can simply type #bestestfriends2016, for example, to check out all of the photos the group is taking.

4. Schedule video chat dates
Technology is making it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends. One great option is video chat, which individuals can access from platforms like Google Chat, Skype and Facebook. People can even chat with more than one person at a time, thanks to Google Hangouts. So students can get as close as they possibly can without actually being in the same room by using video chat! Plus, with the increasing mobility of technology, friends can take their video chats out of the bedroom to share some sunshine with friends? 

5. Plan a meetup or get-together
For college students, this may involve a bit more planning and travel to organize. For example, a fun camping trip with friends living in five different states might take some brainstorming, but it will be well worth it. For kids living in the same city who aren't old enough to have a driver's license, making plans can also be time-intensive yet critical to maintaining friendships. Parents can play a large role in helping younger children make fun plans, such driving them to the movies or hosting a sleepover. If you want to make it extra special, consider sending invitations – it can be a fun way to spice up the long summer days.

6. Count down the days with a special calendar
As much as students love summer, they may start to feel like they're dying a little bit for every day spent without their besties? Why not count down the days, then? Yes, friends can just cross days off on a calendar, but they can also do something a bit more special. Woo, Jr. suggested making a personalized countdown "waiting jar." Students of all ages can make this calendar (some with a little help from their parents) by filling a jar with scraps of paper equal to the number of days until they see their friends again. Attached to each piece of paper can be a positive message or a fun activity, such as having an extra cookie, to keep friends going until they're reunited.