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Six Tips for Putting Kids to Bed When It’s Still Light Out

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.

Sun setting through giant tree

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.


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.

More Must Read Posts

Do you put your child to bed only to have them not fall asleep right away? Good! There are some real benefits to your child being in bed but awake. Learn why this is special time is so valuable to kids. #Bedtime #KidsSleep #ToddlerSleep #AwakeInBed #PositiveParenting #EmotionalDevelopment #BedtimeTroubleShooting #StayInBed #SleepTips

How to get your kids to bed without a fight. Learn the parts of a solid bedtime routine that helps babies and children get to bed with ease. No more fighting! #bedtime #bedtimeroutine #sleep #baby #kids #toddlers #naps
The no cry sleep training solution. You can teach your baby to sleep without crying it out. Learn how we successfully helped 3 kids (including twins!) learn to sleep at night using this gentle sleep training method. #sleep #sleeptraining #baby #training #naps #infant #twins #babytwins #babywise #nocry #nocrysleeptraining

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.)

Is it bedtime but the sun hasn't gone down?  No problem!  You can still get your kids to bed on time even when it is still light out.  Here are 6 tips to help you out.  #BedTimeTips #DayLightSavings #DayLightSavingsSleep #SleepTips #babywise #BabywiseSleep #BabySleep #ToddlerSleep #PreschoolSleep #LightOutSleep
picture of a baby sleeping with text overlay: How to help your child fall asleep even when it's still light out

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Thursday 30th of May 2019

Consistent routine is a key but it's really hard to achieve! When I was going back to work I started sleep training with Susan Urban's from parental-love. com. The routine was the first task. It may be good for the baby but for me it was a nightmare to be so organized! But after implementing this, we didn't have any problems, including the summer time and shorter nights :)


Thursday 30th of May 2019

It can be tough, but you are right, it is so helpful. I'm glad you found what works for you and your family. That is the most important thing. :)


Friday 3rd of May 2019

All these tips are great, and blackout curtains are life! It really does help so much when their rooms look like a cave inside lol.


Thursday 2nd of May 2019

I found this post in a group we are in on FB. I love these tips. Last night my husband was saying we need to get our smaller kids to bed by 7:30 and I thought "How are we supposed to do that when the sun is still out?!?!?!" So finding this article was perfect timing!


Thursday 2nd of May 2019

I am so glad you found it helpful! I hope these tips work as well for you as they do for us!

13 Cheap {Or Free!} Summer Activities – Twinning Babywise

Thursday 11th of May 2017

[…] Today is BFBN blog swap day. I have Emily from The Journey of Parenthood here posting about inexpensive ideas for summer fun and I’m over at Team Cartwright posting about getting your kids to go to bed when it’s still light outside. […]

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