With the school holidays coming up you may be looking forward to some special days spent together as a family, but kids being off school can mean that regular sleeping routines go to pot. While a little lie-in for everyone may sound appealing, how do you stop term time sleep routines from coming seriously unstuck?
Don’t stray too far from routine
If you’ve got plenty of day trips planned for the school break you may find that it’s not always possible to stick to the usual bedtime. Plus, when it’s lighter in the evenings and there’s no school the next day, children are likely to try and push back against their regular routine. So what can you do?
Where possible, stick to as much of your usual routine as you can. If children tend to have a bath and story before bed, keep to the plan. Vicki Dawson, CEO of The Children’s Sleep Charity, recently told the Huffington Post: “Make sure that they get up at the same time each day, even at the weekends. Having a regular wake up time is important in order to strengthen your child’s body clock.”
Dealing with over-tiredness
Whatever is going on with their body clock, the daily exertion of playing out with friends makes children prone to summer over-tiredness, which can in turn make bedtime a battle. Reminding your little ones of all the fun you can have together the next day will go some way towards persuading them to give in to tiredness.
If you’re staying away from home and visiting family or going on holiday, some deviation from the usual bedtime and routine is inevitable – particularly if you’re in a different time zone. Keep things as familiar as possible with props from home like soft toys and blankets. Often children will recognise things are slightly different on holiday and can slip back into their usual routine once they’re back in their own beds.
Enlist some extra help
Not only do children have to wind down from the excitement of days not spent at school, but they can also come up against warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours. Many animals in the wild sleep slightly later in the summer season, so to stop your little mammals from heading the same way, you’ll need to give them a helping hand.
Blackout blinds and curtains keep bedrooms nice and dark, while a change to a lighter duvet and pyjamas can help towards making little ones more comfortable. On particularly hot nights, get them to ditch the PJs and use a fan or try chilling sheets in the fridge before popping them on the bed. Keeping blinds and curtains shut in bedrooms during the day can also help prevent rooms from heating up too much in the first place.
As so often happens, just as you’ve settled into the rhythm of holiday days and a lie in or two, it’s soon time to go back to school. To help everyone avoid an abrupt awakening when the time comes, try to ease the transition by late nights gradually – it’ll make the first day back that little bit easier for everyone to handle.
The heat of summer can have an effect on all of us - read our top summer sleep tips for more information.