Summertime Sleep Tips: Ways to Balance Your Child’s Sleep Needs
Yes, summer is upon us. Finally.
Summertime is great for kids and parents alike. The doors are swung open and the kids get to run and play to their heart’s content. They are now free to take their pent-up energy out on the grass and not on your poor walls – or you!
While for parents the pressure of finding endless ways to entertain your little ones during the inside months is relieved by the endless wonders of the outside world. “Look, mom, a rabbit! Look a tree! Look another tree!”
But summertime isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, the arrival of the warmer months and longer evenings bring their own particular set of problems – such as getting the kids to sleep. In fact, we’ve even had to use a few tricks to get the kids to sleep later when they are waking too early.
No matter the season, spring, summer, fall or winter, a child’s sleep needs remain pretty much constant. Getting them to sleep while the sun is still blaring outside requires a bit of work.
Below are my top summertime sleep tips that balance their body’s need for slumber with your desire to allow them to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season.
Stick to your schedule
Regularity is the single greatest weapon in a parents arsenal when it comes to a child’s sleep. Establishing and adhering to a regular bedtime routine no matter the season is the single most important thing you can do to ensure your kids get the sleep their young bodies and minds require.
So if you have tried and tested pre-bed routine, say turning off all screens, having a bath, brushing hair, putting on pajamas, saying goodnight to their toys, storytime and then sleep. Stick to it! Consistency counts.
While the sun might still be high in the sky outside don’t let that influence you one little bit. Sticking to your regular pre-bed routine will do both you and them a world of favors.
Children’s need routine.
Keep it dark
When it comes to keeping your children on a schedule, you have one big enemy to contend with – the sun. Our sleep cycles are controlled by a hormone known as melatonin, the production of which is dictated by the sun. The brighter it is for longer… the more delayed our melatonin spike… the later we want to stay awake.
To get children to sleep on time, you are going to have combat the sun. To do so will mean heading indoors and drawing the curtains while the sun is still high in the sky. Not our favorite thing, I know. But necessary.
Ensuring that you have curtains or blinds throughout the house that actually keep out the light is essential to the success of this plan. We have room-darkening blinds in all of our kid’s bedrooms. Bright overhead lights will also play havoc with sleep cycles, so keep the lights lower at night.
When the time comes, bring your children inside and gradually make the home darker… turning off a light, dimming other lights… doing so will mimic sunset and entice melatonin out of its hiding place, triggering drowsiness and sleep.
Keep them cool
After sunlight, the other biggest obstacle to sleep in the summertime is the heat.
If it gets really hot and you have air conditioning use it if you can. A fan works well, too, just make sure it’s swinging and not pointed directly at you child all night otherwise they could wake up with an achy neck.
Dress them appropriate in a loose fitting lightweight and breathable pair of cotton pajamas to help them stay cool and not sticky when they wake up.
Another tip is to use a hot water bottle, only instead of filling it with boiling water, top it up with ice cold water. Place the cold bottle in your child’s bed half an hour before bedtime and by the time they get in the bed will be nice and chilled. For more parent-tested tips on keeping kids temperature down have a look at this cool list.
Don’t open their windows
If it’s warm outside, then opening the windows to your child’s room may achieve nothing more than letting warm air inside.
If possible keep the blinds, curtains or shutters in their bedroom closed during the day, this will help to prevent the room temperature from rising too much in the first place.
This tip might not work for everyone, it depends a lot on how stuffy your child’s room gets but if you’re suffering from over warm rooms it could be worth giving it a try.
Well, there you have it – four ways to help your child nod off in the summertime. I hope these tips help you keep your progeny on their sleep schedule despite that pesky sunshine. Keeping them well rested and happy will mean that you get to enjoy more of the season too!
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