How’s your sleep schedule going? It’s easy to fall into the relaxed pace of summer, especially now that pandemic restrictions are easing up and more places are open to explore. However, you don’t want to ease out of routines and consistency because it can be the fast track to a miserable summer…or fall when back-to-school rolls around. So today, I’m talking about staying on track with summer sleep schedules.
Extended daylight hours
One of the greatest things about the summer months is the number of daylight hours we enjoy. Extended daylight hours mean we’re able to enjoy outdoor time later in the evening on work nights. This may be great for us adults, who relish long summer evenings, but these extended hours can wreak havoc on your little one’s sleep.
To avoid sleep disruptions, try to keep to your baby’s regular sleep schedule throughout the summer months. The reality is that you’ll be able to enjoy the long summer nights even more, knowing that your baby is sound asleep. On the flip side, the farther your stray from baby’s bedtime routine, the less time you’ll have to relax in the evening – you’ll find that extra time spent trying to get your little one to sleep (and that’s stressful).
If you’ve already followed my advice for creating the perfect sleep environment, your little one should be set for summer sleep. If you’ve not, I’ve got two hints for you: cool and dark. Naturally, you want to keep your little one’s room cool, and if you add a fan to help, you have the bonus of white noise. To keep the room dark, add room darkening shades or blackout blinds; while black trashbags help in a pinch, you can find blackout shades for under $10 at home improvement stores.
Lazy, late beach mornings and late-night boardwalk outings are some of what vacation is all about. Vacation’s a time when we can relax and enjoy our time from the everyday hustle and bustle, and summer road trips are the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your family. However, relaxed schedules can often derail ironclad sleep routines, so be careful.
Plan for daytime naps. Once your little one loses their nap schedule, all bets are off. Instead of pushing through or past naptimes, try to plan your vacation activities around the snooze times. If you’re away from your hotel or house rental, make sure you create an area conducive to napping. In a pinch, you can do a stroller nap, steering away from a lot of noise and activity. A shaded stroller, a clip fan, and a white noise app can help create an on-the-go napping environment. Ideally, however, you’ll plan to be at your home-away-from-home base for naptimes.
If you’re planning something more than a road trip, you’ll want to factor in time zone changes, jet lag, and plane cabin pressure (especially with your littles). But, more than anything, you want to have a plan before you travel. When you have a strategy in place, it makes it easier to stay on track and enjoy your vacation.
Enjoy the sunlight
If the outdoors is your happy place, it’s not a coincidence. Sunlight, or vitamin D, exposure triggers the release of serotonin, which brings us to our calm and happy place. The same is true for kids. So, while temperatures may soar in the summer months, get your little ones outside. Not only will they benefit from the fresh air and sunlight, but their sleep will fare better as well.
Start back to school preparation early
If you’ve got school-aged children, then you know how lax summer sleep schedules can create a hurdle when it comes time to go back to school. So if you’ve shifted bedtime a little later, begin moving it earlier weeks before school starts, so it’s not such a shock to the system.
As always, consistency is vital. However, if you need help finding a sleep schedule that works for your little one or your toddler’s sleep got off-track this summer, I’m here to help! Schedule your complimentary sleep assessment today.