Summer is a fun time for children and adults alike, but all this fun can wreak havoc on healthy sleep habits! Your children will enjoy the sunny, warm weather and all of the fun summertime activities like the beach, the park, the zoo, the aquarium, the farm, the fireworks…maybe so much so that snoozing isn’t a priority for them! Imagine that – kids that don’t want to sleep? 🙂
So you may be asking yourself, “How can I help my kiddos stay well rested and still enjoy the summer?”
Here are my top 4 tips for preserving healthy sleep habits so your kids (and Mom and Dad!) can enjoy all that summer has to offer!
#1 Stay consistent 80% of the time.
The old 80/20 rule. If you are consistent 80% of the time, you can relax the rules and have fun 20% of the time. This means being consistent with bedtime and nap time AT LEAST 80% of the time – when we become too lax on offering sleep at the right times, our children become overtired and overtired children are no fun! You’ll know you are being too relaxed if your baby or toddler start having unusual nighttime wakings, earlier morning wakeups or they are fussy in the late afternoon. These can all be signs of being overtired. Get back to basics and be consistent with offering sleep at the right times while your littles fill their tanks back up so they can be more flexible, and fun again. The great part about healthy sleep habits is that once your children have them, it is easier to get back on track.
#2 Make it dark
The sun rising extra early can really confuse our little one’s internal clocks and it is a challenge to convince kids it is bedtime when it is still light out! To ensure that your children are getting enough nighttime sleep, getting up at a reasonable time in the morning and able to settle for naps, consider creating the optimal snoozing environment by darkening the room with blackout curtains and room darkening shades. You are aiming for a darkness of a 9 or 10 out of 10 – think cave like.
#3 Control the temperature
Healthy snoozing habits are a lot easier to maintain if you create the perfect cave like environment, especially with the rising temperatures. It is important to keep your child’s bedroom or nursery in an ideal temperature range between 68-72 degrees for all snoozing. Think about how you can have a restless night when you are too warm – our children are the same way. In addition, overheated sleeping conditions have been associated with an increase in SIDS for babies one year and under. Consider investing in an air conditioning unit for the nursery or bedroom. If that isn’t an option, try using a fan to keep air circulating, but ensure it isn’t blowing directly on your baby.
To dress your baby for summertime slumber, think lightweight and cotton. If you are using air conditioning, you can dress your child in long sleeve cotton pajamas. If you are using a fan, shorts and cotton tees or even just a diaper if it is really warm, will help your baby to stay comfy. If you are swaddling, use lightweight cotton swaddle blanket and for sleep sacks, go with one made of cotton jersey.
#4 Block out noise
It’s bedtime and the neighbors are partying…what do you do?
You aren’t ready to bring your little ones to the fireworks yet…will they stay in dreamland?
We can’t always control the outside environment, but we can do things to help set our little ones up for success and to improve less than ideal conditions. Investing in a sound machine can really help to block outside noise and help your children to fall and stay asleep. I’m particularly fond of the Marpac DOHM-DS Natural White Noise Sound Machine. This Amazon 5 star rated product is the #1 rated noise machine and will help drown out your neighbors, but it won’t help their bad taste in music!
Hope these tips help!