Five tips for keeping your child's bedtime routine this summer

Summer is a time for relaxing, barbeques, and sunshine. Finally, the hustle and bustle of constant activities and commitments tend to slow down and the most pressing thing on your to-do list might be where you’re going on vacation.

For some parents, summer really does feel like a break, but for others it can feel a bit chaotic having less routine and structure.

In many households, bedtime routines naturally end up going out the window during summer months. Between sleepovers, travel, and not having to wake up as early the next day, bedtime just takes a backseat.

But keeping a consistent routine throughout the summer is not only important for your family’s health, it will also help your children enjoy summer vacation.

Here are Five easy tips to follow 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 her normal bedtime will wreak havoc on her internal clock. If you’re going to adjust bedtime in the summer, I recommend no later than 30 minutes past her normal bedtime.

2)     Follow the 80/20 rule. During the summer there are inevitably parties, activities, and nights that 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. 80% of the time kids should be on point with sleep and 20% of the time you can be a bit more relaxed without worrying about long term affects.

3)     Follow the same routine you normally 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 lights out, 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. So, 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 2 hours prior to bedtime.

5)     Talk to your children about the importance of sleep. A steadfast rule in our household, is that if our children don’t get adequate sleep, our planned activities for the next day are limited. If your child is planning on going to camp, a friend’s house, birthday party, etc. remind him that in order to be able to do those fun things, he needs to be at his best, which means getting enough sleep. Then stick to it! If your child wakes up grumpy because he didn’t go to bed at his bedtime, limit his activities or potentially cancel all together.

Rachel GortonComment