June 21 has the longest amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere. Referred to as the summer solstice, it occurs when the earth’s tilt toward the sun is at its maximum, and is known as Daylight Appreciation Day. What this means for parents is more daylight to boost the energy levels of their children and the complaint, “It’s bedtime? But it’s still light outside!”
There are ways to ensure your kids get enough restful sleep each night, even on the long days of summer that never seem to end. Try the following to get your little ones rested.
Make Sure Your Children Are Active
Sometimes it is hard to get your children outside on hot summer days. Try to have them outside before mid-morning and in late afternoon, when it tends to be cooler. Encourage active games such as hide and seek or tag. Your children will be likely to go to sleep at bedtime if they have played hard during the day.
Create an Environment for Sleep
You can make it easier to get your kids to bed on those long summer days if you create an environment conducive to sleeping in their bedrooms. To do so, consider the following:
Studies show that children get their best sleep in a room without light. You can mimic a late evening environment by using shades or lined draperies to block out exterior light.
Make sure sheets are light weight cotton that “breathes” and use other bed coverings that can easily be thrown back if your kids get too warm at night.
A fan provides ambient noise to block out summer evening sounds and also helps the air circulate, keeping the room cooler and more comfortable.
Prepare for Bedtime
Studies have shown that children with a bedtime routine get more consistent restful sleep. Keep a bedtime routine in place during the summer months. Avoid the use of electronics in the late evening as studies have shown these devices can keep children’s minds active and not encourage sleepiness. Additionally, avoid sweets and caffeinated beverages, which also inhibit sleep. About thirty minutes prior to bedtime, have you children prepare for bed and go into their rooms to relax. Make sure they spend the last twenty or thirty minutes reading, listening to soft music, or simply resting quietly, all activities that prepare the mind for sleep.
Change Summer Bedtime
If you are still having trouble getting your kids to get to sleep on long summer nights, consider setting their bedtime later. As long as your kids get a sufficient amount of sleep, going to bed and getting up later may be okay during the summer months. Just make sure you get them back on the school schedule by having resume an earlier bedtime a few weeks prior to the start of school.
With some preparation, clever thinking, and a few minor adjustments to environment, you can make sure you kids get enough sleep even on the longest summer days.