Ask Lina is a special editorial series where we invite you to send us your parenting questions in the comments below and our teen & tween emotional expert, Lina Acosta Sandaal, gives you tips that will help you navigate these crucial “in-between years.”
Originally Posted in StopParentingAlone.com
Children and parents alike look forward to the lazy days of the summer months. We imagine happy moments on our family vacations. Children running and playing and painting popsicle mustaches. But right around the middle of July the honeymoon period fades, and we find ourselves screaming, lecturing on the importance of being grateful for the time spent together, and overwhelmed with finding things to do. The following are tips and ways to manage these days of summer.
MAINTAIN A ROUTINE (AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE)
Following exact time of day is not so important. It is the sequence and pattern of the routine that makes the difference. Here is an example of a typical day for children (adjust for your age group and naps, if applicable):
- Outside play/walk
- Free Playtime
- Naptime/Quiet Time
- Play/Planned Activity
- Bedtime Routine
Be mindful of screen time/media hours, which you can plug in to this routine in the playtime slots. The American Pediatric Association currently recommends that children and teens engage with media/screen time one to two hours per day.
MAINTAIN AND MANAGE THEIR EATING AND SLEEPING SCHEDULES
A child or teen is sleep deprived when they have not had the allotted amount of time needed for their body and neurology to recoup. Sleep deprivation creates hyper-activity, conduct/behavior issues, mood-swings and memory loss. The sleeping time for each age group within a 24-hour period is:
- TWEENS: 7-12 y.o. 8-10 hours
- TEENS: 13+ 8-10 hours of sleep
When going on long drives – or roadtrips – play and talk with them. Having your undivided attention and connection helps them stay focused, calm, motivated and emotionally regulated. Sorry parents! No lounging and reading on your phone when traveling with children.
YOU NEED YOUR OXYGEN MASK FIRST
This is true of every day in parenting, but takes on special importance when on vacation and during the summer months. Make sure that you remember to take care of yourself before you manage your children (read this in case you need help with this one). It is vacation after all. Plan ahead and think about when you will need assistance, time to yourself, or the acceptance that the children may melt down because of that late night dinner with friends. FYI an adult is sleep deprived if they have not had 3 consecutive nights of 6+ hours of uninterrupted sleep. Get those Zs.
So here’s to a great summer vacation and getting past that Mid-July hump!
Most parents fear their teens and tweens could fall in the trap of misusing drugs and alcohol. This video helps you find answers to avoiding this fate during the summer months….and beyond.