Shannon Glenn is the owner and founder of Sleep Well Children Consulting and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Specialist. She is dedicated to helping parents assist their children and babies in developing healthy sleep habits. With a B.A. in Psychology, Shannon has worked extensively with children and their families for over 15 years in a variety of settings. She has been offering sleep solutions for over six years.
Summer Time Sleep Advice
Summer is here, that means more sunshine, warmer weather, outside fun and more daylight! All things that after a long winter and wet spring we happily look forward to. It is also a time when our little one’s sleep habits can be vulnerable to change if we aren’t careful. Even though it is summer, babies and young children still need to be sleeping well. Not to say that a night here or a nap there that is a little off from the norm is going to cause issue but if that turns into every day or even one nap a day, it can be problematic. Also with it being warmer outside, it can be more difficult for children to fall asleep if they are too hot. Below are a few tips to keep everyone happy and sleeping well through the summer.
Cool and dark bedroom
Since our melatonin (sleep hormone) production is directly impacted by light, having a dark bedroom will make it easier for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep and with the extra hours of daylight chances are very high when your young child needs to be going to bed it will still be light outside. I usually recommend for night time sleep that it should look like night time in your young child’s bedtime. Make sure the bedroom is cool. I have found that usually between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the house is a good range for everyone to sleep comfortably in. If you can’t keep in that cool in his room, consider using a fan. Ceiling fans will help, but sometimes just getting a portable fan and turning it on so it can blow air on your child will keep them more comfortable. Also lessen the blankets and pajamas and if your baby uses a sleep sack, go with a lighter cotton one and just a onesie underneath.
Good bedtime routine
Just because it is summer doesn’t mean that the bedtime routine can go away. Babies and young children thrive on routine especially when it comes to their sleeping habits. Be sure to make enough time for the bedtime routine to happen so your child knows that sleep time is coming and his body is ready for it.
Have down time
Not only is it important to be outside enjoying the sunshine and fresh air but also allow for some down time. Babies and young children still need to have quiet times too. If your child is still napping, be sure to have at least 30 minutes of down time before a nap to give his body a chance to slow down. If your child is not napping, have quiet time each day where your child can enjoy quiet activities in the house. I have found that about an hour of quiet time works well for most children. As for bedtime, I usually recommend about an hour before bedtime, come inside and start slowing things down.
Dehydration can actually lead to difficult sleep. Its easy for young children to get busy playing and forget to have something to drink. Be sure your little one has plenty of fluids. For those who don’t always say when they are thirsty offering something to drink every time you get something to drink or about every hour seems to work well.
Honor your child’s sleep needs
Summer time often means more travel, more activities and just a busier life in general. Try to honor your child’s sleep needs as best you can and give your child the best environment to sleep in. Each child is different on how much their sleep schedule can vary and how well they will sleep on the go. So be aware of what your child can handle in regards to his sleep and what he cannot. It will help keep a young child healthy and happy.
Hope that helps keep your summer enjoyable and restful!
Why didn’t we try this sooner?! As we speak he is sound asleep in his crib – and has been since 7:15 pm.Karianne Wanggaard
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Working with Shannon, I went from 2-3 wake ups every night to 1 or 0. She aligned the plan with my preferred sleep cycle. She was always coaching, never judging. Shannon was great, I have referred MANY people to her! That's the best testament to her work that I can give.Laura