Should children follow a bedtime and sleep routine during the summer?

Summer sleep routines for children

Summer holidays are in full swing and the kids are out of school.  Once school is out, many of us have a tendency to let routines fall by the wayside, without the usual structure to our week. Kids don’t have to abide by a strict bedtime anymore as they don’t have to wake up early for school.  It’s too light and too hot to go to bed.  There are just too many fun summer things to do outside to even think about sleep.  The list goes on and on.

However, lack of structure and routine in the summer, especially when it comes to sleep is not necessarily healthy.  Young children are tuned to waking up at the same time every morning.  So if you are putting them to bed late due to having fun in the sun, they are still likely to wake up early in the morning due to their internal clocks.  Unlike adolescents and adults, they will most likely not sleep late in the mornings to catch up on their sleep.  So the buildup of sleep deprivation can create moodiness, crankiness and irritability which then lead to tantrums.

To avoid major meltdowns and to keep the household functioning happily, follow some of these tips for a happy, healthy summer.

  • Honor nap schedules if your child is still taking a nap and honor bedtimes.  It’s tempting to schedule a lot of activities, but try to do these around nap schedules.  Your child will have a lot more fun (and so will you) when they are well rested.
  • Blackout shades are essential in your child’s room for blocking out the light and heat. Even though it’s light outside, the darkness in the room will let them know that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.
  • Keep the room cool so that they are not sweating.  Being too hot or humid doesn’t help with sleep.  Maintaining a temperature between 68 and 72 degrees is ideal.  But if that is not ideal for your family, then a fan is just as good.
  • Have them take a cool bath before bed.  It helps calm them down and lets them know that sleep is coming soon; as part of a regular bedtime routine.  It cools down the body’s internal temperature, which helps with falling asleep easily.
  • Keep sugar and junk food to a minimum – I have started to notice the ice-cream and juice intake for my son has increased during the summer months.  Setting limits and monitoring the junk food intake will help with this.
  • Too much sun exposure can also affect sleep.  If their skin has been damaged or they are in discomfort, it will be hard for them to relax and get a good night’s sleep.  They will struggle to get comfortable. So slather them with sun block and limit the amount of time they spend in the sun.

 

  • Keep TV, video games and computer time to a minimum in the evening hours!  Nothing gets them more worked up than this and makes it super hard to fall asleep.

Follow these simple, easy tips to keep your children happy and well rested this summer.

Please comment below on whether your family follows a summer bedtime schedule or not.

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