Ahhhh…. Summertime is fast approaching! Tis’ the season to head outside and savor the warm air. But for those with kids - those long, sunshine-filled days can be both a blessing and a curse. There’s nothing better than spending the day with your little ones outside, but the increased daylight and hot temperatures can pose some challenges when it comes time for them to catch some zzz’s.
To help bring on the best sleep this summer for little ones everywhere, we asked for tips from our trusted partner, Sleep Sister’s Melissa Freidman Zdrodowski. Melissa understands that making sleep a priority is key to a great summer. Here are 6 pointers that will help bring some sweet summertime sleep for your kids so that you can savor the long gorgeous days ahead!
1. Keep it Cool.
Babies’ bodies do not regulate temperature as well as adults do. They can become overheated more easily than older kids and adults can. Plus, very young children cannot remove their own blankets or clothing if they feel too warm. So it’s up to us to help keep them comfortable. In the summer, if you have air conditioning, use it to keep the room where baby sleeps nice and cool – between 68-72°F. Fans also work well, as long as they aren’t blowing right on the baby. You may want to keep the shades in the room drawn during especially hot days to help keep it cool.
2. Strip Down.
Think minimalist when dressing baby for sleep during the summer. You don’t need to put the baby in long pajamas. Try a tee shirt or short sleeve onesie, or even just a diaper if it’s really hot. If night time temperatures in your home fluctuate or a blanket is still needed, try Little Lotus swaddles and sleeping bags. They use NASA temperature control fabric to draw away excess heat when a baby gets too warm and release it when the baby starts to cool down. This great technology helps babies stay comfortable and sleep better! And, as always, no bumpers, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. in the crib. Not only are they unsafe, they can be stifling when it’s warm.
3. Make it Dark.
One of the greatest challenges in the summer is getting the kids to bed when it’s still light out. Use room darkening or blackout shades. Get creative and do what it takes to make the room cave-like no matter what time of day. Helps with nap time, too!
4. Stick to Your Schedule.
Summer, and especially vacations, can throw everyone off schedule. Try to establish some structure to your days and create a summertime routine that lines up as closely as possible with your regular schedule. Keep wake time, bedtime, and nap times the same. That will help keep your family’s circadian rhythms on track. If we let our kids’ bedtime slip more than an hour, we risk getting out of sync with our natural biorhythms and can create a sleep problem that feels like jet lag. Staying up late once in a while is OK, it IS summer after all. But don’t let it become a habit.
5. Don’t skip naps.
It can be especially hard to tear kids away from fun in the sun. But it’s still important that kids of napping age continue to nap consistently even in the summer. Your kids may be getting even more physical activity during these months so their bodies need time to repair and naptime is when some of that critical restoration happens. Most children need a nap to get the optimal total hours of sleep each day. Even if they fight it, insist on quiet alone time in the middle of the day. It has the added benefit of getting them out of the sun during peak burning hours.
6. Be Sun and Heat Safe.
Just a reminder to keep your kids covered with sunblock and well hydrated during the summer. If your kids become dehydrated, they may not sleep as well. And we all know how uncomfortable a sunburn can be. Any time our kids are uncomfortable, they may not sleep as well as we’d like. These problems are easy to avoid by watching their sun exposure and making sure they stay hydrated (with milk for babies and water for older kids).