As summer approaches, the days will continue to get longer, which means the sun will be out later.While for most people this is a wonderful thing, for parents it can be an absolute nightmare.
Two words… bedtime routine.
When your child has a 7, 8, or even 9 o’clock bedtime, there’s a good chance the sun will still be shining as they get ready for bed. And this makes it really difficult for your child to begin to shut down and prepare for sleep.
I promise, if your kids resist bedtime during this time of the year, they are not being naughty or bad. In fact, there’s no such thing as a child who is bad.
There is, however, such a thing as a child who would rather be outside playing in the sunshine…a child who doesn’t want to miss out on any excitement while it appears that the rest of the world, including the sun, is still awake.
So, what can you do as a parent to help your child wind down and fall asleep at the end of a long summer day? Easy…it all boils down to having a solid bedtime routine.
Here’s what I recommend…
First of all, consistency is key. When you set up a bedtime routine for your child, make sure your routine follows the same steps.
Note: During the summer months, it’s possible that there will be fluctuation in the times your child goes to sleep. That’s ok, as long as you stick to the same routine every night.
Step 1: Have a snack.
Step 2: Brush teeth.
Step 3: Put on pajamas.
Step 4: Read a book.
Step 5: Lights off.
Second, it’s important to batch the steps above. This keeps the routine simple and easy to follow.
Batch 1: Kitchen snack and glass of water first, if applicable
Batch 2: All bathroom stuff (teeth, wash face, bath/shower)
Batch 3: All bedroom stuff (putting on pjs, reading a book, 10-30 minutes of wind-down solitary playtime)
Third, I recommend incorporating healthy screen guidelines into your routine.
I really believe in not allowing screen time within two hours of your child’s bedtime.
The two-hour time frame may seem a little dramatic at first, but the blue light in electronic devices really disrupts the melatonin/circadian rhythm in your child and prohibits sleep.
Instead of sitting your kid down in front of a TV or gaming screen to unwind, try a few of the following activities instead…
- Quiet nature walks — A nice stroll outdoors allows your kid to burn off excess energy while unwinding in a calm and peaceful setting.
- Do Yoga Calm to stretch and breathe — Stretching and breathing helps the body relax, regulate, and calm down.
- Turn off overhead lights — Human beings have adapted their sleep cycles, or circadian rhythms, to the presence or absence of daylight. Therefore, turning off glaring lights will help your kid’s body get ready for sleep.
- Turn on essential oil diffuser with lavender — Researchers have discovered that lavender increases slow-wave sleep, the very deep slumber in which the heartbeat slows and muscles relax. Breathing this oil in will help your child slow down, relax, and get ready for bed.
- Gentle background music — Slow, gentle music can subconsciously slow your child’s breathing so that he reaches a semi-meditative state where his muscles stop being tense and relax.
I really hope you give this three-step process a try. I know tons of parents who have found a lot of success helping their children to bed at night with this easy-to-follow bedtime routine.
If you’re still struggling with kids who are fighting sleep at night and don’t know what to do, I encourage you to check out my Mad2Glad Discipline Protocol program. Many times, what lies at the root of resistance and negotiation to a bedtime routine is poor listening skills.
This program provides parents with a step-by-step system to improve listening skills and regain authority, respect, and cooperation from kids ages 3-13.
Find out more about the Mad2Glad Discipline Protocol program.