Summer and Sleepovers and Sugar Highs…..OH MY!
Who is ready for summer? The thought of summer sounds amazing, right? Long days filled with video games, having sleep-overs, hanging out with friends, little or no schedule, and eating whatever we want when we want…..sounds like the perfect way to spend the day! For parents, this means kids are running in and out of your house all day, hyper-activity & self-induced sugar highs, long hours of transporting kids from camp to camp, long restless nights, and of course the never ending sleep-overs!
Summer can be exhausting for parents and children. Friends, sleepovers, less structure, schedule changes, & chocolate are great, but in moderation! So while you prepare for summer, here are a few tips to help make the transition a little smoother. Remember children need structure and staying on a routine allows for a smooth transition back into the school year!
- Maintain a weekday schedule and allow family members to provide input (the idea is to get the family involved in selecting activities they would like to participate in and also creating structure)
- Prioritize what camps and activities you will do and try and arrange car pools with other families so that you are not so overwhelmed and running all over town! Check out local VBS (Vacation Bible Schools) so that you do not drain the budget. Pensacola News Journal recently posted the 2016 camp list. Research free things to do in your town to keep the kiddos busy!
- Limit Sleepovers to a few nights a week rather than every night (or only on weekends for those working parents)
- Limit video game usage and schedule times for them to play (I get that playing video games makes it easier on parents because they can tackle household chores, but the research shows that prolonged exposure to video games is not healthy)
Here’s an Idea…
- Allow a max of 2 hours of video game/computer/electronic usage for the entire day, but only in 30 minute intervals.
- Use it as a reward (some children are obsessed with video games so it can be a powerful reward)! When you reward your child tell them why they are being rewarded and earned video game time. “I am so proud of you for completing your morning chores without reminders and assistance, so you earned 30 minutes of video game time.”
- Example: Michael completed his morning chores, so he earned 30 minutes of video game time. Throughout the day, he earned an additional 30 minutes of playing video games after he was observed playing nicely with his sister, got ready for bed, and so on-up to the 2-hour mark.
- Parents can try and tie in these 30-minute reward intervals when they need to pay bills, do housework, & attend to daily tasks. It’s a win-win for all!
- Limit unhealthy eating and reduce sugar intake. I have to laugh while I write this because my children love sweets so this is a big one at my house and a constant juggle. I try and limit their sugar intake by allowing them to have one sugary snack during the day and then the other snacks are usually healthy (yogurt, fruits, nuts, smoothies). I try and bag smaller portions of healthy snacks and store those in the fridge or pantry so that it is easy for them to grab on the go and a lot cleaner in my car! It’s amazing how enticing character or colored ziplock bags can be!
- Stay healthy mentally: Enroll children in support groups and self-help groups that target challenging or problematic behaviors. For example, therapeutic support groups are a wonderful way for kids to stay connected to their peers and the gain necessary skills that may be challenging or problematic while under the guidance of a professional. (Stay tuned, I am really excited about some therapeutic groups we will be offering for children this summer)
- Relax! Use the time to unwind, enjoy yourself, and have fun while being stress free!
Now……..who’s ready for an exciting summer?
Posted by Tanya White