Maintaining Your Kid's Bedtime Routine All Summer Long
Now that school is out, it's tempting to let your kid's bedtime routine become lax, allowing them to stay up late and wake up anytime they want. However, sticking to an established sleep schedule over the summer can make it easier for your child to stay healthy year-round and make the most of their summer vacation.
A study of 7-year-olds conducted by British researchers found that children's behavior improved as their bedtimes became more regular. So, it's important be firm and consistent to help your child develop a good bedtime routine all year long, Mom and Dad!
If you find yourself wondering how much sleep should kids get, you may need a little extra help. Take a look at these tips to keep your toddler's bedtime routine on track this summer:
Night Routine Sleep Tips for Kids
1. Ensure your child gets right amount of sleep for their age.
How many hours of sleep do kids need? No matter the time of year, The National Sleep Foundation recommends children 6-13 years old need to rest for 9 to 11 hours each night while teenagers need about 8-10 hours of sleep each night. The right amount of quality sleep is just as important to your child's development as a good diet and regular exercise.
An overtired child releases a stress hormone called cortisol, which can make it more difficult for your child to fall asleep. If your child seems to have difficulty falling asleep and you find yourself wondering what time should kids go to bed during the summer, you can calculate the number of hours of sleep your child needs and count back from time time they will need to get up in the morning. If you're child often has trouble falling asleep, moving their bedtime up by 30 minutes can help pad in some extra time in their bedtime routine for winding down from the day's excitement.
2. Start a Night Routine
Summer is a great time to begin a sleep schedule. While your child's sleep routine will vary based on what works for your family, this is what a typical routine could look like for school-aged children:
- A light snack
- An evening bath
- Brushing teeth
- Reading a story
- Lying down to sleep in a darkened room at the same time every night
3. Wake up time is just as important as bedtime.
While the best bedtime routine includes your child going to bed at the same time every night, it should also involve getting out of bed at the same time during the summer as during the school year. Doing so will make the transition from vacation to school seamless. So, urge your kids to play outside or read near a well-lit light when the alarm goes off. Exposure to bright sunlight early in the day can help regulate one's circadian rhythm and make sticking to the same sleep schedule year-round easier.
4. Set up a tranquil sleep environment without distractions
A dark, quiet and cool bedroom free from distractions is best for sleeping. Your child can be allowed a comfort item in bed, such a favorite stuffed toy, but it is important to avoid items like a cell phone, loud music toys or other electronic devices. By providing your child with the best sleep environment possible, you are giving your child the best chance at developing a proper sleep routine that will last them a lifetime.
5. Find the right bedding.
During the hot summer months, it's important to keep kids cool while sleeping. Sheets made of flannel or fleece and down comforters can warm up their little bodies making it difficult to rest. The type of bedding you use affects the body's temperature throughout the night, so linen materials are considered best for summer heat. There are also a variety of pillows and mattresses that affect temperature as well and can aid in cooling down your child's sleep environment throughout the night.
Also, allowing your kids to choose new bedding for summer can get them excited about their bed and bedtime routine. To really drive home the importance of good sleep hygiene, you can even let them help make the bed and teach them about proper mattress maintenance.
6. Maintain healthy nutrition year-around.
Summer is filled with picnics, barbecues and unhealthy treats, so watching your child's diet can actually help him or her sleep better. Chocolate, sodas, coffee-flavored drinks or ice cream and some sports drinks contain caffeine — all of which will prevent your child from falling asleep. To ensure they have a healthy diet and sleep hygiene, generally avoid caffeine and sugars in your child's diet throughout the day.
With these simple bedtime routine tips you won't be asking how much sleep do kids need anymore. And, if you put these tricks to good use, you'll be thankful for setting up a predictable schedule come August when school bells start ringing again. Until then, don't be afraid of creating structure this summer so you and your child can enjoy your summer vacation to the fullest!