Summer Sanity Series Part 2: Keeping Your Summer Fun On Track | By: Melissa Benaroya Summer is in full swing now and everyone is embracing the sunshine and the warm weather. With all the fun summer activities, parents tend to get a little more relaxed in their parenting. Being a bit more flexible and going with the flow can be wonderful and liberating, unless you are undoing the habits you worked so hard to maintain the rest of the year. Keeping your parenting consistent with your values during the summer months can definitely be more challenging when everyone is focused on having a fun time. Below are two more ways to be mindful this summer to help keep your family on track and ensure everyone is staying healthy and enjoying themselves. One way to maintain your family’s sanity and have more fun this summer is limit sugar intake! A handful of studies have shown that sugar has a huge impact on a child’s behavior. Some even consider it to be toxic. Sugar is a treat and can be consumed every once and awhile, but should not be a staple in your child’s diet. Studies have shown that consuming the amount of sugar in just one can of cola can suppress the immune system, can induce hyperactivity and aggression in children, and also decrease a child’s learning performance. (Note: These studies are not conclusive. There are also a handful of studies that show sugar has no effect on behavior. You know your child, so you decide how much of an impact it has on your child.) What we do know for sure it that a high level of sugar consumption does promote obesity and diabetes. Your child will probably not develop the newly diagnosed “disease,” obesity, or diabetes in one summer, but the ongoing consumption of these treats starts laying the foundation for these diseases. Consistent consumption of sugar will lead to sugar cravings, and the more sugar your child eats, the more they will want. So, be mindful of all the treats that are available to your child and make the choice to limit how much and how often they can indulge. You will be glad you did and their growing bodies will too! Maintaining structure and consistency in your days this summer will not only ensure that the summer activities go more smoothly, but will also ease the transition back to school in the fall. The easiest way to keep some structure in place is to stick to morning and bedtime routines as closely as you can. Using a routine chart can aid you in this process. Routines not only help maintain sanity, but they also give children a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline. Structure and routines teach kids how to constructively control themselves and their environments, helps avoid power struggles, and helps us as parents maintain consistency in expectations. Now, who does not want that?!