The longer days of summer are notorious for pulling a child’s sleep schedule off track. While the loss of routine and evening activities can contribute to a regression in sleep habits, it’s the extended periods of sunlight that can really interfere with our children’s willingness to go to bed.
Three Ways To Avoid Summertime Bedtime Battles
Adapt Your Child’s Bedtime Routine
Shift family activities away from sunlit rooms about 15 minutes before starting the bedtime routine.
Our children’s bedrooms are south facing, so to keep the temperature cooler without relying on the air conditioner, our blinds and drapes stay closed during the day. This also keeps our second floor darker and helps to keep their interest away from the sun filled backyard. The switch to darker conditions can also help to promote the release of melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for controlling your sleep cycles. Less light signals your brain to make produce more melatonin.
Try shifting your child’s activities away from sunlit rooms approximately 15 minutes before starting the bedtime routine. This is a great opportunity to spend some one-on-one with your child. You can also use this time have your older child help with preparing for the next day by selecting clothing or other items they might need.
Be Consistent in Your Night Routine
It’s difficult for children to accept it’s bedtime when the sun has barely begun to set. Be consistent about the timing of bedtime, as well as the expectation that they need to rest. For children that are close to age three (and older), you can incorporate a reward chart that helps to encourage your child to follow their routine and to go to bed as they normally would.
Once your child has woken in the morning, let them add stickers to the elements that they completed successfully. Elements could include: going to sleep at the appropriate time; falling asleep by themselves; not calling out at night; and staying in their bed all night. Check out The Victoria Chart Co. for a great sleep reward chart. Use code SUGARPLUM to receive 10% off.
Select Stories That Focus On Sleep
Try to shift your child’s thoughts away from exciting daytime activities during the bedtime routine. Picture books with imagery that focuses on night time are a great way to help place emphasis on sleep without having to try to explain or convince you child that it’s time for bed. Our favourites include:
It’s Time for Bed – Mem Fox
Good Night Digger – Michelle Robinson and Nick East
Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site – Sherri Duskey Rinker
How Does Sleep Come? – Jeanne C. Blaackmore
Tuck Me In –Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt
What tools or strategies have you used to keep bedtime on track during the summer?