It’s summer time! Whether you find yourself planning a getaway or relaxing close to home, maintaining an age appropriate sleep schedule is important for our little ones during the summer months.
Summer is a great time to establish a nap and bedtime routine. This will make travel easier because your child will know what to expect, even though you are not at home. It will also eliminate bedtime battles on those long, warm days when the sun shines late into the evening.
Here’s what you need to know to keep sleep on track this summer:
1. Pack a comfort item for travel. Sleep with your baby’s receiving blanket before you leave for your trip. The blanket will carry your scent and help her feel comforted by you even if you are in a different room. If your child is older, introduce a lovey or soft stuffed animal before you travel to help him feel the security of home in a new environment. Sleep sacks are also a great item to take along because they provide a sleep association, smell like home and are easy to pack.
2. Bring baby a bed. Make sure your vacation home has a comfortable place for your baby or toddler to sleep. There are several good travel cribs available for infants. If your child is too big for a portable crib, consider purchasing a portable bed rail so that you won’t need to worry about your toddler’s safety through the night.
3. Busy bodies need rest. Remember that active little bodies need plenty of rest. Our little ones get lots of fresh air and exercise during the summer months and they need just as much, if not more, sleep than usual. Try to maintain your child’s sleep schedule as much as possible while travelling. Allow for one off day while you fly or drive, but get back on the schedule as quickly as possible once you reach your destination.
4. Shift the schedule or stick to it. Some little ones are able to tolerate a schedule shift that allows them to go to bed slightly later at night and wake slightly later in the morning. Other children will rise at the same time each day whether they go to bed at 6:30 pm or midnight. Determine how far your child is able to stray from the usual sleep schedule and respect his need for sleep.
5. Just because the sun is up, doesn’t mean your little one should be. Our circadian rhythms are regulated by light and darkness. A room that is very dark stimulates the body’s production of melatonin and leads to a more restful sleep. By using blackout blinds we can create a room that is more conducive to good quality sleep.