School’s out for the summer! Which means…sleep look a little different right?

Well, probably not! Your child’s sleep needs don’t exactly change even though the season changes. But with the summer season comes a few sleep challenges.

So today, I want to talk a little bit about those sleep challenges and give you some of my best tips to help your kiddos get the sleep they need so they can enjoy all of the summer fun.


Honor Your Child’s Sleep Needs

I mentioned that your child’s sleep needs don’t change when the season changes. But every child’s sleep needs are different. How much sleep your child needs will depend on their age, developmental stage, and a few other factors. (If you need help determining your child’s sleep needs, don’t hesitate to reach out!)

Summer is full of really fun activities, but all of that fun can be exhausting. So keep an eye on your little ones and watch for their tiredness cues. It can be tempting to try to do everything, but if your schedule is too full or stretches too late in the day, your child could easily become overtired. 

Be flexible and know when to call it a day. Every child is different. If my oldest misses an hour or two of sleep or has a long day, he rebounds pretty well. My middle child is a completely different story. So knowing your child’s individual limits and sleep needs is so important for setting your family up for success.


Keep It Dark, Keep It Cool

During the summer, the sun sets a lot later, which can make it really hard to keep your child’s room dark at bedtime. If your child is used to going to bed when the sun goes to bed, they’re going to struggle when their bedtime comes around and it’s still light outside. And if their room is full of sunlight, it’s going to make it harder for them to fall asleep. 

You can help your child transition to bedtime by doing what you can to darken your house, starting about an hour before their bedtime. Dimming the lights and closing the blinds in your house can help give your child’s body the signal to start producing melatonin, which is incredibly important for helping them fall asleep. 

In your child’s bedroom, black out their windows as much as you can. This not only helps them go to bed on time, but it also helps prevent early morning wakings. There are a few easy DIY methods that I shared recently. And of course, I love the Blackout EZ Window Covers. These are an investment, but I can tell you they are well worth it. We use these at my house and I can’t imagine going to bed without them. 

Blocking the sun from coming in your child’s windows can also help keep their room cool. In Louisiana, we need all the help we can get to keep things cool. The ideal temperature for sleep is 68-72° F, so the more you can do to keep your kid’s room cool, the better! No one sleeps well when they’re hot. 


Maintain Your Routine

I’ve had mom’s ask me what time my children go to bed during the summer, and I’ll be honest. Our bedtime routine pretty much stays the same. Our kiddos go to bed at the same time, whether it’s a school day or not. Summer included.

Now sometimes we have to make an exception to the rule, like when we want to stay up a little later to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July. But those nights are certainly exceptions, and we choose when we are going to make those exceptions pretty carefully. Because the next day, you’ll probably be dealing with a cranky kiddo. Sometimes, that is 100% worth it! Sleep Training is all about getting to say “Yes!” to fun memories with your family, so it’s okay to make that exception, but it’s also important to get right back on track the next day.

So in general, we stick to the same bedtime night after night, even during the summer. You know I preach repetition and routine. And that’s because it works! My kids know exactly what to expect from bedtime, what their routine will look like, and what time they will go to bed.


Burn off Energy

The more your little ones move during the day, the easier it will be for them to fall asleep at night. Encourage your kiddos to get outside and play! Plan fun outdoor activities as a family. We love the local splash pad and we’re always in our backyard.

During the summer we also try to limit screen time. As a family, we love to play video games. But we want to make sure that our kids aren’t sitting on the couch all day. So we take regular breaks or limit the time they’re allowed to play, and make sure we have something fun for them to do that is a more active kind of play. 

And while you’re outside, be sure to remember your sunscreen, water, bug spray, and whatever else you need to make sure everyone stays comfortable and healthy. 


Be Smart With Naps

It’s not realistic that you’re going to be home and on schedule for every single nap. So be strategic. If you have a good sleeper, you can be flexible with when and where your child’s naps happen. 

The first nap of the day is the most important, so if you can get a good first nap in, you can afford to let your little one nap on the go for their second nap. Try to have the first nap happen in their sleep environment and at the scheduled time, then you can wing it later in the day for the next nap if you need to. Again exception, not the rule. 

I don’t want you stuck in “nap jail” all summer, afraid to leave the house because it will mess up your child’s nap schedule. If you plan correctly and work on healthy sleep habits, your family will have the flexibility to get out of the house and do all of the things you need to do this summer.


Don’t Forget Downtime

It’s important to enjoy your summer, get outside, and have fun! But with that comes the reminder not to forget downtime. Build in some transition time and give your child a change to unwind before you put them down for a nap or it’s time for bedtime. 

As parents, we can be tempted to overschedule to squeeze in every last minute of fun. But this can lead to an overtired little one. And it can fail to give your little one’s body the time it needs to get the memo that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. 

Even if your little one is no longer napping during the day, give them some scheduled quiet time during the day. If you can schedule your older kid’s quiet time during another child’s nap, even better! Quiet time can help your child develop independent skills and it will give you a break to decompress from being in mom mode all day. Definitely a win-win.


Enjoy Your Summer

The bottom line is…I want your family to enjoy your summer! I hope these summer sleep tips will help your family stay well-rested and have the tools you need to make the most of this summer. 

If your family is struggling with sleep, and you know you need more help than these tips provide, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can work together to identify your child’s specific sleep needs and troubleshoot what is going on that is preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep. Sign up for a FREE, no obligation 30-minute Sleep Evaluation to see how I can help your family finally get the sleep you need this summer!

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