-Amanda Dadd, Helping Hands Infant & Toddler Sleep Consultant
After a long, hard winter what family isn’t ready to get outside and make the most of the summer months? Like many of us you are probably planning adventures on the beach, late night BBQs, toasting marshmallows over the fire, and dreaming of long lay ins. Hold that thought! If you have young children you already know that the ‘sleeping in’ part is but a distant memory and by the time it’s dark enough to roast marshmallows, your toddler, who refused his afternoon nap, is in the middle of meltdown number two. The reality is that many children don’t get enough summer sleep during the season and it can have an impact on their mood and ability to enjoy all you have planned.
Take a deep breath; it doesn’t have to be this way! With a bit of forward planning and a little know how you and your family can enjoy an action packed yet sleep filled summer.
Here are a few simple tips to help you fill your child’s sleep tank this season:
How many of us have told our children that its time for bed because its dark outside? Works great all winter then one night your smart preschooler notices that the bedroom is still light even after the curtains are drawn.
“Mom, it can’t be bedtime it’s still light outside”
Truth be told they have a point. When it’s dark our brains produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates our wake and sleep cycles and its production is suppressed by light.
- Black out blinds are every mothers friend. Even black garbage bags work if you want to create a dark sleep space when you travel this summer. On those bright summer evenings take your baby or toddler upstairs, pull the blind, close the curtains and complete their bedtime routine in their room with just a night light or dim lamp on. This will enable their little bodies to begin the process of preparing naturally for sleep. Maintaining a dark sleep space can also help keep those early risers in bed a little longer!
- Keep the bedroom cool. Infants and toddlers sleep better and are safest in a room that is between 65 and 70 Fahrenheit. If you have air conditioning in your home this is manageable. If you don’t try using a fan in your baby’s room before bedtime so it feels a little cooler before you lay him down. Hang a wet towel over a chair and the evaporating water will help to cool the air. Ensure you keep those blinds closed during the day to prevent the room from heating up.
- De-clutter the crib or bed. Think about removing water proof sheets while the weather is hot and take out any additional bedding that is not being used or that could prevent airflow around your child.
- A Quiet space. Consider using white noise (especially at nap time) to help muffle the sounds of other children playing outside and summer parties that may keep your little one engaged and awake.
- Choose the right clothes. Dress your child in lightweight, loose fitting natural fiber pjs. Cotton absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics and is more breathable. Remember if you would feel to hot in all those layers so will your baby. If your child spends the night in a sleep sac choose one of the really lightweight options available and just pop them in it in their diaper or a short-sleeved shirt.
- Respect nap time. Without a nap during the day your little one will crash and burn making bedtime challenging. A child that goes to bed over tired is more likely to wake over night and suffer from early morning rising. Sounds crazy but it’s true. Do your best to fit a nap into their day even if it’s in the car or stroller. Sleep that takes place in a dark room in a still space is more restorative but a nap on the move is better than no sleep. If you have been on the go for a few days try to spend a day at home and fill their sleep tank, you may even get a chance to rest as well! Refuel your little person and they will ready for another day at the beach.
Protect your child’s sleep and everyone will have enough energy to enjoy the crazy, hazy, fleeting days of summer.
Call for a free Sleep Assessment 905 599 0040