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).
Memorial Day is next week, and with warmth in the air and sunshine filling our days, we can feel the excitement for the summer ahead!
It’s a time for new adventures… and perhaps these include an upcoming weekend trip with your little one. It may seem daunting to head someplace new with your baby, especially when a good night’s sleep in a new place could be in jeopardy.
So, to help make summertime travel a little easier, we asked for some pointers from Brooke Nalle of Sleepy on Hudson, one of New York’s finest sleep trainers (and trusted partner of ours). As a mom of three, Brooke knows first-hand the challenges that new environments can pose for baby’s sleep. She suggests the following 5 things that will help keep that upcoming summer get-away feeling like a “vacation.”
Plan your trips around nap times. You can also drive at night. If sleeping in the car is a disaster no matter what you do, then drive in the morning so you can have the afternoon to get back on track and settled before bedtime.
Bring whatever gear your baby or toddler might use at home (within reason), bring his white noise machine, any lovies, special pajamas, etc. Put all of the sleep stuff in your bag so the crib sheet and pajamas smell like you.
This is one of the toughest travel environment hurdles out there. Some hotel rooms are freezing and impossible to regulate, and on the flip side, some sea side resorts can get quite muggy for you and your baby. How do you keep your baby at just the right temperature so he can sleep well, even better? Our friends at Little Lotus Baby solved this problem. Using NASA inspired technology designed for astronauts, they created the perfect swaddle and sleep sack to keep your baby warm when he needs it and cools him should the room heat up.
If your child is refusing, really refusing to nap with you, i.e. screeching in the pack and play while you deal with the awkward silence from your relatives or freaked out fellow guests, take him out, change his diaper, feed him, calm him down, reset his buttons, and try again about 45 minutes later. This time sit quietly in the room where he can see you and shush/sing quietly, reassuringly.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and it begs the question: “What does mom really want?” Pampering is a given, sleep is a must! The truth is in the facts: a recent article pointed out that mothers of young children lose, on average, about 9 hours of sleep per week… that totals out to be a whole additional night’s rest that they lose out on every week (oomph!)
So, in the spirit of giving mom the “gift of sleep” this year we asked our partner and sleep expert, Children’s Sleep Consultant Rebecca Michi, to provide us some key sleep tips to help those long nights go a little smoother with your little one.
Here are Rebecca’s 5 simple tips that will get your baby on the right track to sleep- so that mom can get that R&R she deserves!
1. Location, Location, Location!
Whenever possible, when your baby naps during the day, let them do so in their crib/moses basket/wherever you’d like them to be sleeping at night. It will help baby to associate their bed with sleep and give them a better idea of what they’re supposed to do when you put them there at night!
2. Keep the crib clear
It is really nice to make sure baby has a lovely sleeping space but overcrowding a crib with bumpers and toys can be a distraction as well as a hazard. Make sure you make the crib as serene as possible by removing toys beforehand and think about just having a soothing mobile instead that they can gently drift off to. The less colour there is the better.
3. Routine is everything
Babies thrive on routine, so it’s never too early to start one at bedtime. A lineup as simple as feed, change, snuggle, story will be worth it’s weight in gold as your little one gets older!
4. Set the mood
Make sure you’re giving your baby all the tools for a good night’s sleep. Consider the temperature, the lighting, perhaps a white noise machine. What ‘works’ of course varies from one baby to the next – some like silence, some don’t, experiment, see what works for your little one and stick with it.
5. Keep night time feeds as business only
When you feed your little one at night, make sure they know that’s all that is happening! No playing, no extra cuddling up, no toys. Be strict (with yourself as well as baby!) and you’ll help baby realize that getting up in the night is not all that exciting, so they may as well save their energy for the fun stuff in the morning.
With Spring in full swing, the days are getting longer, and the nights are getting shorter. And, maybe at your house- the nights are already short with a little one that keeps you awake! It may seem daunting to overcome the challenges of getting your baby to sleep through the night.
Sleep Sisters, one of San Francisco’s finest sleep trainers (and trusted partner of ours), sums up 10 Things You Can Do Tonight -- simple actions you can take immediately to help you breathe a little easier and your little one get on the path to catching some z’s.
Check out this super helpful blog post here!
Following up to Sleep Awareness Week last week, we are launching the second part of our #MamaNeedsSleep campaign! As new parents you probably are not getting enough sleep. The average parent gets 6 hours of sleep, and that is just not enough. Little Lotus has partnered with Dr. Harvey Karp, baby sleep guru and author of the best-selling book, The Happiest Baby on The Block, for a contest to help parents get some much needed rest. Because #MamaNeedsSleep. See below for more details on the contest.
Also, we have some coveted tips from Dr. Harvey Karp to help your baby sleep better:
We want to see your adorable baby pictures, sleeping or otherwise, with your best/funniest/worst sleep experience captions. The Grand Prize Winner will win a personal sleep consultation with Dr. Harvey Karp (priceless!) as well as a suite of Little Lotus products to help baby sleep better. Additional runner-up prizes include Dr. Harvey Karp’s Soothing White Noise Sleep Sounds and Little Lotus products…all great things to help your baby sleep better, and that means more sleep for Mama.
Please see entry details here.
There are many ways to earn entries:
So share your stories, share with your friends and follow Little Lotus, because every #MamaNeedsSleep. Good luck!
- The Little Lotus Team