Questions From You

Parenting questions submitted by our community members and answered by a YOU Program facilitator.
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I’m a single mom. How can I help my son not feel left out on Father’s Day?

June 13, 2014

By YOU Program Facilitator

Happy Father's Day! Dad, you're awesome.

Question: My son’s father left when he was less than 12 months old and I’m a single mom. He’s 9 years old now and most of his friends celebrate Father’s Day with their dads. Is there anything I can do so that he doesn’t feel left out on Father’s Day?

Answer: Growing up without a father can sometimes be difficult for a child, especially if many of his or her friends live in a two-parent household. Your son is very lucky to have a mother who cares so much about him and doesn’t want him to feel left out.

While Father’s Day traditionally honors fathers, it’s a wonderful opportunity for your son to honor a male role model in his life. This year, ask your son to choose a male whom he respects and values. It can be a grandfather, uncle, family friend, or even a brother. Arrange for the two of them to spend time together. Whether they go out for ice cream, miniature golfing, or to a movie, giving your son the opportunity to spend time with a male role model will allow him to celebrate the holiday without feeling left out.

As you ask your son to choose this male role model, be sure to also ask him how he feels about his father not being in his life. It’s important to listen to him and understand his feelings. While you cannot change the past, you may be able to help your son understand that he is not at fault and is loved by many other people, including his mother.

For more information on parental engagement from birth through high school, see the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher 3-book set.

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My son is finishing kindergarten soon and will have the summer off. How can I avoid breaking his routine and sleep cycle this summer while he’s out of school?

June 6, 2014

By YOU Program Facilitator

A young boy sucks his thumb as he sleeps.

Question: My son is finishing kindergarten soon and will have the summer off. We established a good routine for him throughout the school year that included set times for sleeping and eating. How can I avoid breaking his routine and sleep cycle this summer while he’s out of school?

Answer: It’s wonderful that you were able to establish a routine with your son that works both for him and your family. Children and adults respond well to consistency, and that routine likely helped him focus more while he was in school.

You can still keep a similar routine this summer, but you may need to make a few adjustments. Depending on how flexible your family can be, you might try some of these tips:

  • Allow a slightly later bed and wake-up time. If it works for your family, allow your son a little extra time and fun on summer nights, as long as you can allow him at least eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Keep the same meal times. Serve breakfast within the same amount of time from waking up as you did while your son was in school. Do the same for lunch, snacks, and dinner.
  • Schedule learning and activity times. Just as your son would spend time learning in school, schedule time for him to practice what he learned in workbooks or other fun but academic lessons. Let him play and be physical around the same time he would have recess at school.

Even though your son isn’t in school this summer, you can still create a routine that mimics his school schedule by incorporating set mealtimes, learning and activity times, and bedtimes. If you are not home with him to implement these routines, make sure the daycare or babysitter can follow them.

For more information on establishing routines for your child, see the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher 3-book set.

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