As parents, it’s our job to make sure our kids get enough sleep at night. It can be hard enough to get the proper amount of sleep throughout the school year. But when summer rolls around, getting enough shut-eye might seem almost impossible.
Each night, adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep. However, your kids may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
- Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours of sleep
- Preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours
- Children ages 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours
- Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours
And while it may be hard to go to bed early during the summer months, there are some simple ways to promote healthy sleeping habits within your family. U.S. News and World Report has a few suggestions.
The first step to enforcing healthy sleeping in the summer is to establish a bedtime routine. Setting limits like going to bed at a certain time or participating in soothing activities with your kids just before bed can help get everyone on a set sleep schedule. For example, have them brush their teeth, put on their pajamas, and read a book before bed at the same time every night. You should also put the electronics away 30 to 60 minutes before you want your child to get under the covers. Phones, iPads, and televisions are okay for use throughout the day, but there’s no need for them in the bedroom.
Just as it’s important to get your child to sleep at the same time, they should be waking up at the same time every morning. Even though it may be tempting to let your child sleep until 11:00 a.m., especially on weekends, get them up at a reasonable hour. Getting them up every morning around 7:00 a.m. will make their transition of waking up early for school come fall a lot easier. If your child is a teenager and doesn’t want to be bothered with a wake-up schedule, encourage them to try it out for a week and tell you how they feel after.
Of course, it can be tough sticking to a healthy sleep schedule when life gets in the way. In the winter, cold and flu season can disrupt your kids’ nightly routine, while allergies can do the same in the summer. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation estimates that that nasal allergies affect 50 million Americans. However, getting your family used to a sleep schedule will actually help them fall asleep when issues like these arise. As the body grows accustomed to falling asleep and waking up at certain times, the body will naturally adjust to this daily rhythm, promoting better health overall.
U.S. News also recommends explaining to your child why you’re setting rules. Don’t make it seem like you’re trying to be mean, but that you’re looking out for their well-being. Explain to them that sleep is important to help them feel better and have more fun during the day.
If your child is prone to waking up throughout the night, don’t make it a big deal. Brief awakenings are normal, so if they wake up and come running to you, tell them that there’s nothing to worry about. The more they get used to it and know that it’s okay, the easier it will be for them to fall back asleep quickly.
Getting your child to sleep during the summer is just as important as getting them to sleep during the school year. To get them to fall asleep during their time off from school, get them to bed and wake them up at the same time, and remind them that waking up throughout the night is nothing to fret about.