How to keep kids’ sleep on track over the summer holidays
Psst… school’s (nearly) out for the summer.
With the lighter evenings and looser routines, kids’ sleep schedules can often go down the pan – after you’ve worked so hard to get it right! Which means you often face a nightmare trying to fix a poor routine when it comes to September.
Don’t worry – with these top tips, your kids can enjoy a summer of perfect sleep…
Stick to a firm (but fair) bedtime
With no school in the morning, it can be easy to fall into a later bedtime routine. And without keeping a close eye on bedtime, it can get later and later…
While there’s no harm in a slightly later bedtime during the holidays, pushing it back too far will make bedtime in September feel like hard work. So, agree on a rigid bedtime with your little one, and make sure you both do your bit to stick to it – no matter what.
Top tip: to encourage your little one to stick to their bedtime, why not offer a nightly reward? This could be reading a bedtime story together, adding a sticker to their ‘good behaviour’ chart, or a nice cup of warm milk or hot chocolate.
Set the alarm clock nice and early
Waking up later is one of the main reasons kids’ sleep can suffer in the summer. With no early morning rush, it can be tempting for kids to switch off their usual alarm.
And once they fall into the habit of those lazy mornings, they sleep in later – which means they don’t feel sleepy until way past their usual bedtime.
So, to avoid a disrupted schedule, set their alarm clock nice and early. Ideally, it should be around the same time as their usual term-time routine.
Clear away any distractions and clutter
Kids have tonnes of gadgets. And whether it’s a flashing toy or a beeping iPad, it can be hard for kids to resist picking up those gizmos after bedtime.
Plus, a cluttered bedroom can create a cluttered mind. To help your little one switch off, make sure you switch off all their gadgets – and make sure their bedroom is free from distractions every night.
With underbed storage, you can easily stow away any distracting bits and pieces. When gadgets are safely out of sight, they’ll stay out of mind. It means your kids can rest soundly without any tempting notifications within arm’s reach.
Try some calming and clever bedding
If your little one is struggling to drift off over summer, it might be time to switch up their bedding.
A weighted blanket can help kids settle down and snooze in minutes. With a comforting and heavy sensation, they can put any anxious thoughts to bed. The heaviness of the blanket creates a comforting sensation, and triggers ‘happy’ hormones. So if your youngster is struggling to sleep due to an overactive mind, a weighted blanket could help.
Plus, memory foam can also help create a comforting nights’ sleep. As memory foam moulds around your child’s shape, heading to bed can feel like a welcoming cuddle. So pair a weighted blanket with a memory foam pillow, and your kids will be out like a light.
Encourage pre-bedtime reading
Reading before bed is a sure-fire way to tire out the eyes. So if your little one is struggling to adjust to a different routine during the holidays, a pre-bed story can help.
Even if your little one can’t yet read, sharing a story together can also help kids drift off to the land of nod. That’s because you’re helping them imagine a faraway world… the perfect way to head to dreamland. Plus, kids will begin to associate a nightly story with bedtime – so the routine of sharing a story can be enough to send your youngster to sleep.
And with the bookcase bed from Julian Bowen (below), it’s easy to keep a stack of bedtime stories close by. There’ll be no more getting out of bed to tidy the book away – they can head straight to sleep once their eyes start to droop!
Banish screens before bed
Screen time before bed is a big no-no. The blue light that shines from mobile phones and TVs can keep us awake for longer – so your kids should avoid screens at all costs before bed.
If your youngster is old enough to have a TV in their bedroom, they might be tempted to watch programmes late into the night. And when they have no school to get up for, it’s easy to give into temptation and watch one more episode.
But with the right bed, you can prevent kids from channel-surfing once it’s past their bedtime. A high sleeper bed means you can create a space to put the TV underneath the bunk – so your kids won’t be able to see the screen once they’re tucked up in bed.
Keep your kids active
After a long day of PE and tricky sums, kids are both mentally and physically worn out. So during term time, your kids might fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow.
But during the summer holidays, kids can often have heaps of unspent energy rattling around – especially if they’ve had a lazy day. This can make it much harder to fall asleep at night. And when you’re working, it’s not easy to plan activities every day to wear your kids out.
With the kids’ fitness tracker from Garmin, you can motivate your kids to stay active every day. From daily fitness goals to educational games, this nifty watch will give your kids a mental and physical workout. No more lazy days and restless nights!
Keep playtime separate from bedtime
Experts say that kids should use their bed for sleep, and nothing else. This means that kids will mentally associate their bed with sleeping. So as soon as your kids hit the pillow, their brain will instantly know it’s time to switch off.
When kids play games or do their homework in bed, they send their brain the wrong signal. This means they grow accustomed to being alert in bed – which isn’t great for winding down.
To avoid this, make sure your kids have a separate space to work or play. A pop-up tent, teepee, or designated play zone can be a great place to let off some steam before bedtime. And once they start feeling tired, they can just head to bed and fall asleep instantly.
Make sure the bed is inviting
A cosy and inviting bed helps kids feel safe and sound, and ready to sleep. And whether it’s a teepee or a treehouse, imaginative beds can provide a welcoming den to hide away and unwind after a long day.
Browse our range of novelty beds to find a bed your kids will love. Because when kids love their bed, heading to sleep doesn’t feel like a chore – it’s something they can look forward to.