Purposeful Parenting for the Summer:
Creating Balance Between Fun and Rest
By Mary Ruth Cross, MS, MFT, NCC, RPT-S
CEO/Owner Treehouse Family Counseling Services
As summer kicks into full swing families are adjusting to many changes; new schedules, trying new activities, going on vacation and eventually getting ready to go back to school. For now, it’s time to enjoy bar-b-ques, swimming, being outdoors, playing with friends and making sure the family continues to remain healthy and well balanced.
It can seem like summer would be the time to relax rules and routines, but this may not be the right thing to keep everyone healthy and happy. Children thrive on consistency. As you and your children engage in new activities be sure to build in some down time where there aren’t too many expectations. Consider using a white board to show everyone’s schedule so each person can know and understand what and when they are doing their new activities. Be sure to hold to bedtime routines that help your child or teen get enough sleep to be fully prepared to participate in their activities.
It’s okay to have special nights where your child or teen can stay up a little later, but they do need sufficient time to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following guidelines for youth and how much sleep they need;
• Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
• Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
• Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
• Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
• Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
The study found that there were many advantages for youth when then had adequate sleep on a regular basis: improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression, especially for teens who may experience increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
Summer is a time to enjoy the warmth of the days that open new opportunities to play, connect with others and have fun. Additional signs that your child or teen may not be getting enough rest are: irritability, difficulty getting up in the morning, difficulty getting to sleep, not wanting to do things they normally would enjoy, wanting to watch t.v. or play video games to the exclusion of other fun activities, taking naps when they don’t normally do this. Should you want more information you can check out the American Academy for Pediatrics website at https://www.aap.org or give us a call at Treehouse Family Counseling Services, 925-820-8447. We hope you have a joy filled and restful summer.