How to Get Kids to Sleep in the warm Summer months
We’re past the longest day, but really summer is just beginning. Bedtimes for young children are usually routine-based, full of snuggles and love. You close the door with all thoughts of the trickier moments of the day behind you, and instead get ready for an evening to unwind. Light evenings and muggy British summer nights can make the best laid bedtime plans go out of the window for young children. The result: summer bedtimes can be fraught with stress and worry. Here are our top tips on how to get young kids to sleep in the summer.
Keep Things Cool
From birth, we’re used to keeping our young children’s sleeping area cool at night. The advice is to keep the room between 16 -20°C. Even on the most un-summer-like of British summer days, that’s a tall order. However, babies and young children have a harder time regulating their body temperature, so keeping things cool for them is essential.
Firstly, try to keep their sleeping area as cool as possible, by closing curtains during the day.
Secondly, consider the bedding and their PJ’s. Have a feel of the back of their neck or their tummy (not hands or feet), and if you can feel sweat, you need to strip down a layer. However, it’s not uncommon to have them stripped down to their nappy, or their favourite character pants, and things are still too hot.
A fan is a great idea. Use it to circulate the air but don’t aim it directly at the cot or bed. If things are still roasting in their bedroom then take a wet towel, or a bowl of ice, and place it under the airflow. This will help to cool the air and make things more bearable for the land of slumber. Remember not to leave little ones unattended with a bowl of melting ice though!
A final word on keeping cool: don’t let them burn or get too hot during the day. The shade, light cotton coverings, and not being a Mad Dog or Englishman when it comes to middle of the day exposure, are important. If you think it’s hard getting a hot and sweaty child to sleep, you don’t want to try doing it with sunburn or heat stroke in the mix.
Keep Them Hydrated
Especially with newly potty-trained young children, it may be tempting to hold back on drinks in the evening. However, on warm nights, kids need to be hydrated or you’ll be treated to a 1000 interruptions of ‘I’m thirsty’. Encourage a good drink in the late afternoon, perhaps an ice pop after dinner, and then make sure your child has a sippy cup or water bottle available for the night.
Keep It Dark
This is where many parents come a cropper during summer bedtimes. How do you encourage a young child to sleep when the world is still awake, and shouting about it in all sunshiney glory? This is further exacerbated as night time is the best time to open the windows and get some cooler air in.
We recommend starting your above endeavours to cool the bedroom around half an hour before you’re taking your little one to bed. Then, when you’re all off up the apples and pears to Bedfordshire, you can close the window, and pop up a black out blind. Once your child is off to sleep, you can then sneak in, open the blind a little, and open the window once more.
Keep the Routine
School’s out, preschool has finished for another year, and so routines, naturally enforced by older sibling’s schedules and society at large, fly out of the window. Days become more mish-mashed, with activities varying from one moment to another. Playing in the paddling pool at bedtime no longer seems such a crazy idea. However, babies and young childrens’ sleep thrives on routine.
Therefore, try to keep some semblance of routine throughout the summer. Maybe push the bedtime later, but keep the routine the same, and if your little one still naps, then don’t skip them. Also, stuff your summer days with physical activity and lots of fun and hopefully you’ll have a weary head ready to hit the sack.
Let Them Rest
Summer is a time for fun, laughter, days out, and memories. It’s a time when childhoods are created with sticky ice cream, and battles with the sunscreen. With the tips above you’ll be able to ensure your young kids are rested, energised, and raring to go on another day’s adventure.
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