Summer Sleep Tips for Kids
We moms put a lot of work into helping our kids sleep well.
From having consistent bedtime routines to optimizing our children’s sleep zone, I know I’m doing my best to get my kids to sleep.
But then summer comes along. It’s nice to have long lazy days to have fun, but the sun setting later can make bedtime challenging.
Who wants to go to sleep when the sun is still up?
Fortunately there are a few things you can do to help your toddlers and older children keep good sleep habits through the summer. (And you can keep some adult time in the summer too!)
I am so happy to have this guest post from my friend Cole. She has 4 kids, including a set of twins. You know she wants them all getting the sleep they need.
Here are summer sleep tips for kids to make bedtime less of a fight.
As summer gets closer, our days get longer and longer. It’s light earlier in the morning and staying light later into the evening. I love the longer days – they illuminate my morning runs (which I do in the dark for the rest of the year) and they provide my husband and I ample time to sit on the front deck, have a drink, and talk long after the kids have gone to bed.
But recently one of my friends asked me how I convince my kids to go to bed when it’s still light outside. “Mine won’t go to bed until it’s dark!” she said.
My first thought was well it’s a good thing you don’t live in Alaska! Can you imagine if a child there ever decided bedtime must only occur when it’s dark? Come summertime they wouldn’t go to bed until after 11, and be up again before 5!
Clearly, Alaskan children have learned that bedtime happens irrespective of the light. Some parts of the year they go to bed when it’s dark, and some parts of the year they go to bed when it’s light. Your children can learn the same thing.
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SIX TIPS FOR PUTTING KIDS TO BED WHEN IT’S LIGHT OUTSIDE:
1. Keep bedtime consistent.
When we go to bed at the same time every day, our body is trained to be tired at that time.
The first step in getting your kids to go to bed at the same time every night is to put them to bed at the same time every night. If you want them to be tired at 7pm, consistently put them to bed at 7pm. Soon they will be tired at 7pm.
If you start stretching bedtime out in the summer due to the light or to activities outside the home, their bodies will no longer be acclimated to an early bedtime and come 7pm, they will not feel tired.
2. Keep bedtime and daylight unconnected.
In the winter, don’t say “look! it’s dark outside! It’s time for bed!…” because that logic will leave you keeping your kids up later come summertime.
Kids have an incredible memory when it comes to recalling things you said and wish they forgot, so they will remember you associating bedtime and darkness when it’s advantageous for them to do so.
3. Serve dinner early.
If you eat dinner at 5pm and then let the kids play a bit, take a long bath, and read books in time for their 7pm bedtime, it feels a lot later to them than if you follow up a 6:30 dinner with an immediate bedtime.
The latter feels rushed and sudden – like you are putting them to bed early instead of at the usual time.
4. Use black out curtains.
In our kids’ rooms, it can be dark 24 hours a day. If it’s a room that faces the setting sun, don’t mess around with store bought black out curtains.
Buy curtains you like and sew black out material to the back. They are much thicker and more effective that way.
5. Use white noise.
This drowns out the sound of the neighborhood kids outside playing, limiting the frequency of but whyyyy do they get to stay up and play? arguments.
6. Teach kids to stay in their room, even when they wake up.
An ok to wake clock can be very useful. The point is to teach them that the bedtime hours are set hours – they have nothing to do with whether they are awake or sleeping, tired or rested, or whether it’s light or dark.
Using these strategies will help keep bedtime consistent throughout the year – regardless of the season.
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Cole is mom to four and blogs at Twinning Babywise (UPDATE: Sadly Cole has taken her blog down. You can read more from her here: Cole’s Twin Story.)
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