While summer inevitably is going to look a little different this year, there will hopefully still be backyard BBQs, sweet treats, and pool days. And even though you may not be taking your annual summer vacation, there are still plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather! But with this, it also brings yet another change in routine, especially when it comes to naps and bedtime. Bedtime can naturally end up going out the window during summer months, but keeping a consistent routine is still just as important for your children (and you)!
Here are five easy tips to help keep sleep on track this summer:
1. Keep your child’s actual bed “time” consistent
Allowing your child to stay up hours past their normal bedtime will wreak havoc on their internal clock. If you’re going to adjust bedtime in the summer, I recommend no later than 30 minutes past their normal bedtime.
2. Follow the 80/20 rule
During the summer, there are inevitably activities and nights when it just isn’t possible to have your kids in bed by 8pm. Don’t stress too much if you have something going on that doesn’t allow you to get home until later. Enjoy family time and don’t miss all the activities; you just don’t want it to become the norm. Kids should be on point with sleep roughly 80% of the time, and 20% of the time you can be a bit more relaxed without worrying about long-term effects.
3. Follow the same routine that you usually do throughout the year
We are all creatures of habit, and for kids, knowing what might come next within their family dynamic can help to create stability. If you normally brush teeth, read books, say prayers, and then turn off the lights, follow that same routine through the summer months. For many children, they look forward to this time of connection and come to expect it in order to help them sleep soundly.
4. Eliminate distractions as much as possible
Shut off electronics at least 1.5 hours before bed and encourage wind-down time in the evenings. It is challenging for anyone (adults included) to go from a stimulating environment straight to bed! We want to try and help prepare our kids for rest by creating a sleep-promoting environment to signal that bedtime is coming soon. This also includes eliminating sugary snacks at least two hours prior to bedtime.
5. Be prepared for sleep on the go!
If you are planning a weekend away with your family or heading to a friend’s house for the day, the SlumberPod is a great option to block out the natural light so that it doesn’t keep your little one up. By bringing this item with you, plus your child's sleep sack and white noise machine, you won’t have to rush home! Your child can still get their much-needed nap in.
Maternity and pediatric sleep consultant, founder of My Sweet Sleeper, published author, and mom of six. For the last 10 years she has worked with thousands of families through her unique method that helps parents identify their child's unique sleep profile. Her passion is helping families thrive by all getting the sleep they so desperately need. She lives just outside of Boston in a small town in the woods with her husband and children. Follow My Sweet Sleeper on Instagram here!