4 Tips to Manage Your Child’s Summertime Sleep Schedule
For many kids, summer is a time to relish in the longer days by staying up later with friends or family. While it may feel good to be more relaxed about your child’s sleep schedule during the summertime, it may wreak havoc when it’s time to go back to school. Here are a few tips to make sure your kids continue to get sound sleep throughout the summer and get back into a routine once school starts.
Know Your Sleep Numbers
No matter the season, kids need a certain number of hours of sleep each night for better behavior, mental health, memory, and a stronger immune system. School-age children need between nine and 12 hours a night, while teenagers need between eight and 10 hours.
Children who regularly miss out on enough sleep are prone to health problems such as depression, high blood pressure, and obesity. They also have more behavioral issues, are more irritable, and have trouble concentrating.
Try to Stay Consistent
If you adjust your child’s bedtime in the summer, try to keep sleep and wake times consistent. For example, if your 12-year-old’s summer bedtime is 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., try not to stray too far from that time every night. A consistent sleep schedule is important for all kids as children who get enough sleep perform better in school and have better behavior and memory. To help with consistency, keep the same bedtime routine during the summer, whatever that may be, such as brushing teeth and reading before bed.
Make a Gradual Shift at Summer’s End
Don’t wait until the night before school starts to shift your children back to a regular sleep schedule. A week or two before school begins, start moving bedtimes and wake times earlier in 15-minute increments. Keep adjusting by 15 minutes every few days until your child is fully back on schedule. Ideally, kids should be back on your preferred sleep schedule at least a few days before the first day of school.
Encourage Healthy Sleep Habits
Once your child is back at school, instill a few healthy habits to help him or her get enough sleep year-round:
Keep all electronic devices out of children’s bedrooms and stop all screen time at least an hour before bedtime.
Make sure your child gets plenty of physical activity during the day.
Keep the lights dim in your home towards bedtime, and try to keep bedroom temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.