Summer vs the Early Bedtime

Summer is finally here. Longer days and relaxed schedules are a welcome change… but with these perks comes the seasonal struggle that effects parents and children alike- how to enjoy all the summer fun while still sticking with your routine. Of course, as a sleep consultant I believe an early bedtime is your best friend but it is not always realistic. It is tempting to keep your kids up to enjoy the festivities but is that always the best choice? Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your summer without wreaking havoc on your little ones sleep.
#1 Know your child- some kiddos are more sensitive than others to changes in routine and schedule, if your child is one of them aim to stay on track 90% of the time to maintain balance and harmony.
#2 Give and take- if you are going to allow your child some leeway in the evening be sure to stick to your nap schedule to ensure they get the right amount of rest they need in a 24 hour period, and vice versa, if you are going to shorten or skip a nap be sure to get them to bed early.
#3 Watch their behavior and adjust accordingly, if you notice changes in behavior or you see sleep struggles arise this is a good indicator that your child may be overtired so be sure to get them the rest they need in order to avoid a sleep debt that may be difficult to reverse.
#4 Prioritize. While your summer invitations may be pouring in it doesn’t mean you have to accept all of them. Hit the ones that coincide with your child’s schedule for sure, and then pick and choose the others. If you are lucky enough to have family or trusted babysitters to watch your kiddos you can enlist their help so you can attend a few fetes sans children- who doesn’t need a date night after all?
#5 Reframe it. Parents of young children often feel constrained by their little ones schedules- this is a normal part of life. Try to remember it doesn’t last forever and a well-rested child is much easier going than a sleep deprived one. Think of your child’s need for an early bedtime as an opportunity for you and your spouse to have some quality time together. Sit out on the deck and enjoy each other’s company- create your own couple time right in your back yard.
#6 Be flexible. While keeping your child well rested is a priority for many reasons don’t forget that making memories is important too. They are only young once so embrace the moment and enjoy!
Find the balance that works for you and your family… Happy Summer!

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