Summer days are long and we really pack them full of fun. Most of us are planning trips, camping, sightseeing on weekends and during the week we add T-ball, swimming, bike rides and BBQ's into the mix. Summer is my favorite season and I cannot seem to pack enough fun into one day and make it home by bedtime. Plus, my kids get SO DIRTY and yet we don't have time for bath because we're in a rush to get to bed. What are play hard/sleep hard families to do?!?
Here are my biggest tips to keep your summer sleep on track so that you can soak up all the sun and fun:
Summer Bedtime Routine
Set a maximum of 3 nights a week for a "late bedtime" and make sure you stick to your regular bedtime the other evenings, or even get kiddos to sleep earlier some nights.
Remember, consistency is key, so keep your bedtime routine the SAME! If you take a bath each night as part of your routine, you may want to replace it with a quick "wash up" - use their bath soap on a warm washrag and scrub faces, hands, feet. This will keep the routine similar, but will save time, and drama (if your kids are like mine they never want to get out of the tub).
While traveling or hosting visitors make sure to review your bedtime expectations, tell your family or friends (or have your kids tell them) what the regular bedtime is and what they do to get ready for bed. It's fine to have Grandpa or Auntie snuggle up with them and read a book, or share in a song, but above all share how much your kids love sleep and how happy they are that they get healthy amounts of it.
Light Blocking Window Coverings. This one speaks for itself. Where I live the light starts shining in windows and the birds start chirping around 4:30am (which is NOT "morning"). I like these EZ Blackout brand curtains because they velcro on to window (can be used in addition to normal window treatments) and do not let any light in around the edges.
If you cannot block light from windows, wear a sleep mask. I prefer not to have something touching my eyelids and I love Mzoo's sleep mask*. The memory foam and thick band make it extra comfortable, too.
Cool Bedroom - we sleep better in a cool room, which is unfortunate, because it's often still quite hot at bedtime. We prioritize cooling the kids room first with a window AC unit, and counting on the night breeze to cool the rest of the house to a comfortable temp before adult bedtimes.
"Layer" beds with several light blankets so that you can accommodate a range of temps throughout the night and easily adjust for comfort. You may start out with a sheet and need a cozy blanket by morning if you leave windows open at night. Many families love these beautiful muslin quilts from Aden+Anais in crib size and bed size.
Remember to pack lovies, sleep sacks and bedtime books that remind kids of home and help them know sleep is coming.
Make sure that your bedtime routine feels the same as it does at home, so your kids are sure about what's coming next (Zzzzz).
Find a way to darken your sleep space (remember it's light until 9:30 or 10pm, but you want kids in bed, asleep much sooner than that). Use a tarp or space blanket over your tent or cut a piece of cardboard to put up in your RV windows to block light.
That said, if your child's bedtime is normally 7pm, you may benefit from extending bedtime 60-90minutes later while camping, just so it's a bit darker. If bedtime is already 8, I would try to keep it around the same time.
Use white noise - your human or animal neighbors may not know they need to quiet down for your kiddo to sleep at 8pm, so come prepared with white noise.
This Skip Hop portable sound machine* will come in very handy!
Or you can get a white noise app for your phone may be easiest, just make sure you have Do Not Disturb on.
Thank you for sharing this info with other families looking to play hard and sleep well this summer! If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
* This is an affiliate link - if you purchase I will receive a small portion of the sale at no extra cost to you. Win-win!