Long days, later sunsets, and lack of school schedules often make it difficult to stick to your family’s sleep routine. Here are some of our favorite tips to get the sleep you all need.
Summertime, especially with daylight savings, means long sunny days and late sunsets. Combined with a lack of consistent daytime schedules, summer can often bring the challenge of sticking to sleep routines.
Here are eight of our favorite tips for transitioning into summer with success and sleep, while still enjoying all the fun and adventure that this season offers.
1. Keep Consistent Bedtimes and Wake Up Times
While the times may shift a little later in the summer, it’s still important to keep some structure and ensure your kiddos get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Normally go to bed at 7:00 pm but find yourself getting them to sleep at 8:00 pm now? Shift that morning wake up one hour later as well. But consistency is key here. The less variability in the bedtime and wake-up time each day, the better.
2. Use Blackout Shades or Curtains
One of the hardest things for kids to understand in the summer is why they’re going to bed when the sun is still very bright and high on the horizon. Daylight savings time means sunsets happen at 9:00 pm or later in Central Indiana. We can’t wait for sunset to signal bedtime, but we can darken the house and bedrooms to trick our kids’ circadian rhythms into thinking it’s nighttime.
3. Use a Sound Machine
The sounds of summer certainly can evoke feelings of joy and fond memories of childhood, but they aren’t our friends when it comes to keeping our little ones asleep. Lawnmowers, home maintenance crews, splashing in the pool, graduation parties, fireworks, you name it. And this summer, add in those cicadas! A sound machine used consistently can help drown out the evening and morning noise and allow your babe to fall, and stay, asleep.
4. Maintain Naps
For some families, especially with older kids, summer signals the start of camps, playdates, swim team, and other activities that interfere with nap hours. Carpooling, taking turns with your spouse or partner, calling in Grandma to help, hiring a babysitter or summer nanny, or considering activity choices that allow your baby to get at least one solid nap at home each day are great ways to maintain structure and make bedtime easier for everyone.
5. Limit Screen Time in the Evening
The blue light that our devices emit can negatively impact adults’ sleep too, but it can be especially disruptive on our kids. Summer offers so many opportunities to get outside and be active, participate in your local library’s summer reading program, and spend evenings taking walks and making family memories. We get it, some screen time is helpful to us parents and can be educational for the little ones too! We’re not saying no altogether. But we would encourage trying to allocate iPad and phone time earlier in the afternoon and not right before bed.
6. Watch the Sugar Intake
Nothing says summer like popsicles, ice cream, and s’mores around the bonfire. It’s all about moderation and making sure the kids have enough time to run/crawl/bike off that sugar before bedtime. (Or they’ll be jumping on the bed at ‘lights out’ trying to burn it off!)
7. Stick to a Pre-Sleep Routine
That summer reading program we mentioned? A great motivator and fun way to encourage kids to make time for reading before bed. Plus, studies show the multitude of benefits that reading from birth provides. Of course, there will be nights when the pool serves as bath time, the neighborhood cookout pushes bedtime back, or you don’t want to leave Grandpa’s birthday dinner early, but more often than not, try to allow for plenty of time to wind down and ease into bedtime each night with a bath, reading, and snuggles.
8. Monitor Room Temperature
Indiana summers bring the heat! We’ve already experienced a (mini) heatwave this month, with plenty of humidity still in store for us. Consider an A/C tune-up, room monitor that alerts you when the temperature gets too hot, installing ceiling fans, or purchasing desk fans to make sure your nursery and kids’ rooms stay cool. Remember the AAP says no loose blankets for infants (wearable blankets like sleep sacks are okay), and your older ones may just need a sheet or light blanket for the summer months. Less laundry and easier bed-making? Win-win!
Summer offers so many opportunities to bond with our kids, make lasting memories, and let them learn through play in a less structured environment. But it’s also a challenge when it comes to maintaining quality sleep habits. We hope these tips will help you and your family make the most of this amazing season!