Ah, summer. It’s a time of fun in the sun, family vacations, popsicles, and exploring the outdoors. But the truth is that parenting in the summer can be pretty brutal! There’s a lot going on, we often fall out of the structure that the school year gives us, and it’s not always easy to know how to help meet our children’s needs while still letting them relax and have fun. Here are some answers to your toughest summertime parenting questions:
How much screen-time should I allow my children to have?
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that kids get only one hour of screen-time per day! This seems like a far stretch from the reality of many families, doesn’t it? While parents may decide on different guidelines for their own kids, the important thing is that we don’t use the television or computer as a babysitter. Also, I’ve found it can be useful to have children “earn” extra screen-time. For example, maybe a son or daughter must have completed chores, read a book for twenty minutes, and do some exercise before getting some extra time with a video game.
How do I deal with my son/daughter heading off to summer camp?
It can be so hard watching our kids grow up and leave the nest (even if its only to scout camp for a few days). If you as a parent are having a difficult time seeing your child go off to summer camp, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Say something like, “I love you and I’m so glad you get to have this experience, but this is hard for me to watch you go, too! I am really going to miss you and I am so proud of you for going on this adventure!” Then, without going overboard, send a weekly letter or a package to help stay in touch.
What about bedtime?
Since they don’t have to get up early for school in the morning, kids can stay up late every night, right? Wrong! A lack of sleep can make children (and their parents!) grumpy, and these little (and not so little) ones especially still need a lot of sleep for their development. Sure, bedtime may be more relaxed than during the school year, but don’t abandon it completely. Advice I am always grateful to share: since it doesn’t get dark until very late, black out curtains can be lifesaver to help children get their rest!