How to Get Kids to Sleep in the Summer When It’s Still Light Outside
Summer’s here and the days seem to be much longer than usual. This means that it will still be light outside by the time you get your kids to bed. The fact that it still looks like day outside can be quite confusing for kids. A lot of children even refuse to go to bed because “it’s still so early” but the clock says otherwise. So what would you do, as a parent, to help your kids maintain a proper sleep schedule in the summer even when it’s still light outside?
Here are a few tips that can help you get the kids to go to sleep:
Stick to the routine
With the changes brought on by Daylight Savings Time, many families switch up their routines for the summer. This might prove chaotic for your child’s sleep routine. Back when you were sleep training your toddler, you might have realized the importance of a regular daily routine. It’s just the same even when they grow a bit older. In fact, it might even be much easier to get older kids to sleep regardless of the sun as long as you help maintain a routine. Instead of having a summer bedtime and a winter bedtime, you could have a fixed bedtime all throughout the year. After your kids come back from school and have dinner, you can give them some time to play or do their homework. Maybe by 8pm you can get them to prepare for bed no matter what the season is.
Use blackout shades
During their early years, children might have learnt to associate darkness with nighttime, which in turn means sleep. This makes it increasingly difficult for parents to get their kids to bed when it’s still light outside. Even when the kids are already tired, they might not be mentally prepared for bedtime. So you could use some blackout shades to maintain a night-like atmosphere in the room.You could even go so far as to keep draw the blinds in the entire house by evening and then use dimmers in the living room. The idea is to create a nighttime effect within the house even when it’s still light outside. This will psychologically prepare your kids for bedtime and eventually help them sleep on time.
Block outside noise
With birds coming back from their “winter vacations”, they’re going to be chirping outside much earlier. This can disrupt your kids’ sleep and mess up their sleep routine. In addition to this, the longer days may also bring about people engaging in activity for much longer in the night. So this will naturally result in a lot more outside noise than usual. You can block out all these disturbances by using a white noise machine, helping your kids sleep better. It would also help to tone down the noise within the house as well. Your kids will be more compelled to sleep if they know that you’re sleeping too. While you can’t always sleep at the same time as your kids, maybe you could try to keep your activities within your bedroom instead of in other rooms of the house. Whether you’re reading, working, or watching TV; stick to the bedroom and keep the noise down to help your kids realize that it’s bedtime.
More screen-free time
You’ve probably read that exposure to light and flashing screens before bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep. Instead of letting your kids to spend time on screen until bedtime, have a fixed schedule in which they have to turn off the screen at least an hour before they have to go to bed.Maybe you could have screens off by 6pm and then get them to engage in a physical activity for about 15-30minutes. This will exert them to the point that they will feel tired and ready to sleep by bedtime. The sun setting later can be to your advantage here as the kids can go outside to play catch or some other physical activity.
Have a bedtime routine
In addition to the regular daily routine, a consistent bedtime routine could be a great way to get your kids to sleep in the summer. With the blinds drawn, you’re already creating a sleeping environment. You can further add to this by having them engage in a relaxing activity that will encourage sleep. Reading is one such activity as it not only improves your kids’ literary skills but also helps them relax and wind down for the day. You could read to them for a few minutes before bed or get them to read a storybook if they’re old enough to read.
What works for one parent may not necessarily work for another when it comes to parenting. However, the tips given above are popularly used by many parents as they’ve been known to be highly effective. You can also customize the ideas according to your own family routine and your kids’ behavior.