Raise your hand if you’re a mom!
Okay, now raise your other hand if you have more than one child.
I have three kids under 4-years-old, and life can be a little chaotic, to say the least. (Why moms weren’t created with five arms is a mystery to me!)
As a work-from-home mom who thrives on a schedule, I know what a challenge it can be to keep your children’s sleep on track during the summer months—even as a professional sleep consultant.
Let’s be honest: it’s hard enough juggling one kid’s sleep schedule.Throw in another sibling home from daycare or school—plus play dates, swim, lessons, day camps, and other summer fun—and there are going to be days when you just can’t make it home for your kids’ naps.
Today, I’m sharing four ways to find a balance between summer fun and healthy sleep.
4 Ways to Balance Summer Fun and Healthy Sleep
1. Stick to routine
Children THRIVE on routine, so try to keep it in place, even when you’re on the go.
If you need to nap your baby at a new location (in a pack and play or a friend’s crib while at a play date, for example), try to bring along items to keep their routine the same—and portable cribs/Pack-n-Plays are a great way to ensure your child has a safe sleep area regardless of where you’ll be exploring that day!
Using Zen Sleepwear™ for all naps and bedtimes will signal to your baby that it is time to sleep regardless of where she is snoozing. (Remember: babies are too young to understand our words, so we need to use sleep cues–such as special clothing– to set them up for slumber time success!) The Zen Bodysuit and Zen Footie™ PJ are great to pack in the diaper bag when heading out!
2. Keep mornings free
If your baby is taking three or four naps, the first two are always the most restorative, so try to book activities for your older kids later in the afternoon. Being on the go during the third and fourth naps won’t be as impactful to your baby’s overall sleep health.
If you have a baby and toddler who still nap, make it a priority to be home for the toddler’s naptime so you can sync both kids’ naps—this will give them and you a nice break!
With older (school-age) children who don’t nap anymore, it’s still important to incorporate ‘quiet time’ in his daily routine–around 1 p.m. Being home for quiet play will allow your child to decompress and give him the steam he needs to push through the afternoon and avoid early evening crankiness.
3. Shut out for some shut eye
During the longer days of summer, the sun shining into your child’s room late at night and first thing in the morning is the perfect recipe for early mornings/late nights. Ensure you make your child’s room dark as possible; this will aid in their melatonin production (the sleep hormone) and will help send the sleep time cue.
4. Drown out the noise
Lastly, using white noise in your children’s rooms will also block out the external noise, such as other kids playing or that dang ice cream truck!
Respecting your child’s sleep needs is not always easy, nor is it often convenient. Structure tends to become more relaxed during the summer months, but embrace it, because this is what summer is all about! And remember, babies are only babies for such a short time. By next summer, their wake times will be much longer.