Hello, Summer...Goodbye, Sleep?
Are you worried about your summer travel or schedules interfering with your child's sleep routine?
Inevitably, with summer comes longer days and crazy sleep routines. Parents become the masters of unique sleeping arrangements (raise your hand if you've ever put your child in a pack n' play in the closet to nap because my sisters and I all have while traveling.)
You may know that sleep is important for your sanity as a parent, but did you know that a recent study from the University of Dalhousie, Nova Scotia shows after only FOUR nights of disrupted or reduced sleep, children show signs of deprivation Okay - but what does that mean?
Better sleep means:
stronger ability to fight germs,
increased attention spans,
better emotional regulation,
greater ability to learn & remember,
& reduces injuries (the more deprived kids are, the less coordinated!)
So how do you set a solid summer sleep routine? Start with making sure your younger child gets one solid nap (or two depending on the age of your child) per day. If you have to squeeze a nap in on-the-go, then so be it, but if you can get your little one down in his/her own bed, do.
At night, set the stage by shutting off all screens an hour before bedtime (I know!), but your bedtime routine can replace screen time. First, give a warning that it's time to take a bath (taking a bath and washing faces during the summer is really important to get off any pollen before it irritates your child), get on PJs, brush teeth, and pick out a book. There - you've probably already spent an hour without the need for screens and your child(ren) are ready for bedtime.
This is a great time for a family share - pick a bedroom if you have more than one child and have everyone pile on the bed to talk about highlights/pits of the day. You can also try a breathing meditation where you have them tune in to their breath, then work their way down their bodies saying 'goodnight' to their hair, their head, their eyes, their jaw, their shoulders...you get the idea. As we tune in and bring awareness to our body, we relax and unwind.