Setting a Summer Sleep Schedule for Your Kids
It’s that time of year again: school is out and summer vacation is in full swing. While the warm-weather fun over the next few months can be great to spend time with family, it’s also often a period where sleep is a casualty. Here are some helpful tips on setting (and maintaining) your child’s sleep schedule while still partaking in all the fun this summer.
- Routine, routine, routine. Our bodies crave regularity. And that won’t change now that school is out. So while the sun may stay up a bit longer and there’s no homework to worry about, it’s ideal for your younger kids to stick to a schedule. Even if they stay up a bit later, ensure they are taking at least an hour to wind down before shutting off the lights. Any pre-bedtime routines should be followed as they normally would during the school year. Not only will it help them sleep better in the summer, but it will also make their back-to-school transition smoother in the fall.
- Establish a healthy sleep zone. The best mattress is a comfortable one. Make sure your child’s mattress is comfortable, supportive and allergen-free. Consider using mattress protectors or mattress encasements. These are effective sleep tools that help block allergens and prevent your child’s occasional nighttime accident from ruining his or her mattress.
- Allow some free time. While sticking to a routine is important, it’s just a critical that your kids have some opportunity to play at their own pace. While it may be tempting, don’t overschedule them. If you do, they could become stressed out which could negatively impact their ability to fall – and stay asleep – at night.
- Avoid electronics near bedtime and in the bedroom. Numerous studies have shown that the use of electronics can hinder the ability to get a restful sleep. It’s a common problem, especially for kids -- research says that about 72 percent of children ages six to 17 sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom. For optimal shut-eye quality, plan on having your kids stay “technology-free” for at least 30 minutes before their scheduled bedtime and make sure to keep the electronics out of the bedroom.
- Regulate temperature. A cool room is a happy room – for sleep. 68-72 degrees is the ideal range to help your children fall asleep and keep them snoozing soundly. You should also consider mattress protectors and sheets that are thermo-regulating, so your kids can stay comfortable all night long.
As your kids enjoy their summer vacation, be sure to follow these tips to ensure that you can enjoy it as well. Good luck!