Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Summer Sleep
Now that the snow on Elephant Mountain has (just) melted, #snowmageddon2018 is quickly becoming a thing of the past. The runoff is filling the lake, the street cleaner has done its rounds, and the days are lighter and longer. Of course, that also means the nights are shorter.
So how are you going to ensure your child gets enough sleep this summer while balancing the barbecues, beach days, and road trips that we free-wheelin' Nelson parents so enjoy? Not to mention all the fun activities for kids in Nelson that will keep them busy.
Here's what you need to know to keep your child's sleep seamless this summer:
1. Set a Bedtime You Can Live With
There's no point in setting a summer bedtime that you won’t be able to stick to - at least most of the time.
Consider what your family’s summer schedule is really like. Are you out and about later in the day than during the rest of the year? Are you traveling or hosting visitors non-stop? When does your child need to be up in the morning? All these questions should feed into setting a summer bedtime that will work for your family.
2. Keep It Simple Mama
Here in the Kootenays, we're lucky enough to get four full seasons. That also means that each season is fleeting, naturally causing us to cram everything in and make the most of the summer months.
But remember, busy little bodies need plenty of rest. Little ones tend to get lots of fresh air and exercise during the summer months and they need just as much, if not more, sleep than usual. Building each day around sleep, nutrition, play, and love is a simple recipe for success for all ages.
3. Don't Ditch Your Routine
During the rest of the year, it's likely that you have a specific routine you follow in order to get your child ready for bed: change into pajamas, brush teeth, have a story, et cetera. Try to keep this routine as similar as possible during the summer to reinforce the muscle memory that tells the body it’s time to go to bed.
Also, try to maintain your child’s sleep schedule as much as possible while travelling. If the location is different, try to keep the timing the same as at home. Allow for one off-day while you fly or drive, but get back to your family's normal rhythm as quickly as possible once you reach your destination. This will also make it easier to get back on a regular sleep schedule once summer is over.
4. Sun's Out, Bub's Up
Just because the sun is up doesn’t mean your little one should be. Our circadian rhythms are regulated by light and darkness, so a room that is very dark encourages the body’s production of melatonin (our sleep hormone) and leads to a more restful sleep.
By using blackout blinds or curtains, you can create a room that's more conducive to good quality sleep. And - bonus - a darker room is also cooler which, as we all know, also means more enjoyable sleep.
No matter how much or little adventure and excitement you plan for this summer, remember: everything is more enjoyable with a well-rested child.