Our ProSquad experts are weighing in — just for you! This week, we have timely information about summer bedtimes, and the difference between parenting and adopted child vs. a biological child.
It's almost summer and the days are getting really long. When it is light so late, my kids want to stay up all night long! It is OK to relax the sleeping schedule in the summer? What's the best way to set a summer bedtime?
Summers are made for fun — of course it's OK to relax a bit. But summer won't be much fun if kids are hot, overtired, cranky messes. In general, it's best to set vacation bedtimes no more than one hour later than normal. That way, kids' circadian rhythms don't fall too far out of whack. And sticking to a moderate summer schedule will make it much easier for kids to get back on a school-year routine come August.
- If kids want to enjoy after-dinner playtime in the sun, serve an earlier dinner.
- Kids should come inside an hour before bedtime to unwind and prepare for sleep in a darker environment.
- Draw curtains and shades to keep the home's interior dark (and cool). When kids come inside for bedtime, the dim environment will help cue their brain that sleep is near.
- Summer highlights like trips and camp-outs might have kids going to bed much later than normal. Once the trip ends, stick to an earlier bedtime for a few nights so kids can play sleep catch-up.
Malia Jacobson has been helping tired families sleep since 2007. She is a writer, editor, nationally-published sleep journalist, and author of "Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep, So You Can Sleep Too." Her sleep articles reach millions in respected print publications.
Malia's articles have been featured in over 70 news outlets and publications, including ABC News, Women's Health Magazine, Costco Connection Magazine, Seattle's Child Magazine, ParentMap Magazine, Seattle Business Magazine, San Diego Family Magazine, and Cincinnati Family Magazine. She is a contributing writer at Family Time Magazine and Broward Family Life Magazine.
She holds a bachelor's degree in communication and a master's degree in business administration/marketing. When she's not writing, she organizes a popular attachment parenting group in her hometown of Tacoma, Washington, digs in her garden, and explores the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young daughters.
Does parenting a child who has been adopted differ from parenting a biological child?
In a word, yes. Children who have been adopted, regardless of their age, and even if minutes old when joining their family, have suffered numerous losses (this is true in open adoptions and known histories as well). The key loss is that of their birth mother.
Other losses are the birth family, birth history, and birth culture. There are other inherent issues (grief, rejection, guilt and shame, control, intimacy, and identity) extending from this "hub" of loss, which may become apparent and ebb and flow as the child moves through life.
"Parents should be aware of and understand the psychosocial development of children and how adoption can impact it, which will vary depending on the child's history and their temperament." (Parenting Your Adopted Child: Tweens, Teens & Beyond)
Parenting the adopted child often requires more tools, empathy, and understanding to help the child work through theses issues. Among these tools is:/p>
- The use of time-ins.
- Tossing out "pebbles."
- Offering the child choices that the parent(s) can live with.
- Making connection a goal through nurturing instead of obedience.
Parents need to realize that their child's behavior may be a result of what they are processing — something they don't understand and can't verbalize. Parents should be proactive in generating conversations with their child about adoption and help their child with the words to express what they are feeling.
Adoption Pro, Judy Miller
Judy M. Miller, MA, author of What To Expect From Your Adopted Tween, is an adoptive parent and adoption advocate living in the Midwest with her husband and four children. She is the Adoption Education Coordinator and Support Specialist for MLJ Adoptions, Inc.
Judy has appeared on MomTV's Adoption Angles and TogiNet'sAdoption ~ Journey to Motherhood. Judy spoke at the Parenting Summit in March 2011 and presented at the Symposium 2011 Opening Adoption: Realities, Possibilities, and Challenges in Richmond, VA and the Crossroads of America Adoption Conference in Indianapolis, IN last fall.
Judy's essays and articles appear in adoption and parenting magazines and in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families (Adams Media), Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? (EMK Press), and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom (Chicken Soup for the Soul).