The summer months officially begin on Monday. While Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer vacation, parents do have a little time to prepare for the summer struggles they often face -- whether or not to leave kids home alone, paying off expensive camp tuition, and finding time to do all those things you've been wanting to do this summer.
Get planning now -- it's not too late and you can still figure out how to work through your summer struggles and challenges. Hopefully, you'll manage them all with ease, and you'll have a small break before the back to school struggles begin.
More on Parenting Tweens
What's the most difficult stage of parenting? Depends who you ask. For some, the baby stage is the hardest, with months of never-enough-sleep followed by teething, ear infections and a score of other challenges. Other parents say the teen years are the hardest with adolescent attitudes, driver licenses, and college prep. While the tween stage may not be the most difficult, it's surely not the easiest. Learning how to let go conflicts with your child's back and forth behavior -- one minute, a little kid, the next minute a teen in the making. Hang in there and take time for yourself, because it's hard to parent when you're stressed, or worn out. And taking the time to regroup when necessary will help avoid conflict and parenting mistakes.
More on Tween Parenting
Do you know if your tween will attend summer camp this year? If so, you might want to consider gathering the supplies he'll need now, so you have them ready to go when it's time to ship your child off to day or residential camp. A supply list should be available on the camp's website, or it might arrive in the mail about a month before camp begins.
Does your tween play sports during the summer months? Do you bike ride, canoe, or hike as a family? The summer months are ideal for learning something new, or having fun as a family. What sports does your child look forward to this summer?
The summer months are filled with fun, camp, and hours by the pool. But summer also presents certain hygiene challenges. Be sure you talk to your tween about avoiding lice, sunburn and and treating bug bites while away at camp. Pool towels should be laundered frequently and bathing suits rinsed out or laundered after trips to the pool or water park. Also, now is the time to stock up on bug spray and sunscreen. Summer is closer than you think!
Do you celebrate any unusual holidays or observances with your tween, such as an un-birthday, hot dog day or anything silly or non-traditional? These events can be a lot of fun and a creative way to break up the summer, or offer an excuse for making a celebration out of nothing. Put your tween to work finding unusual observance you can enjoy and you might just create another family tradition.
Parents make mistakes. There's no getting around it. You won't always know the right thing to say, the right discipline to enforce, or how your child is really feeling. You do your best, and then you move on and learn from any mistakes you might have made. Don't let the mistakes get in the way of everything else you do as a parent, head of household, breadwinner, cook, limo driver, and housekeeper. Just be aware that you're as likely as anyone else in your family to stumble. And when you do, brush yourself off and move forward.
The summer months are fast approaching and as parents we all know the next few weeks will fly by. Before middle school ends, be sure your child takes advantage of any events, opportunities, or other middle school milestones. Document the year before it's all forgotten. And be sure to look forward to those high school years, because they are also just around the corner.
Earth Day is a time to reflect and hopefully to take the time to appreciate nature and take on the responsibilities that come with enjoying the outdoors. If your tween is eager to celebrate Earth Day, there are a variety of fun activities you can encourage and enjoy together. Of course, the best experience is to just be outdoors and enjoy all it offers, and that's something that anybody can do.
You want your tween to eat healthy foods and establish healthy eating habits, but it's easier said than done. If you've had success getting your child to embrace a healthy diet without confrontations and arguments, how did you do it? How did you get your tween to replace chips with apples, and high fat foods with better choices? Share your success stories here.