School is officially out and summer has arrived! For many families this means a lot more activities, vacations, and staying up later to enjoy family time. Some parents may wonder if it is possible during the summer months to delay bedtime a bit so your kiddos can enjoy the longer evenings. My answer is, yes, as long as your child doesn’t become too overtired once you’ve made the shift.
In this blog I give you step-by-step guidance on how to make the shift AND what signs to look for to know if your child is ready to handle the later bedtime. This is a great option for school-aged children, especially if you know you will have some later nights this summer.
Before we jump into how to make the shift, it’s important to note an ideal bedtime for children ages 0-5 is between 6:00pm - 8:00pm. This is when their bodies will naturally be ready for sleep.
I do not recommend shifting bedtime later if your child’s bedtime will fall after 8:00pm.
Here is how to make the shift:
Start with 15 minutes.
We want to make this a gradual transition, so start by shifting your child’s bedtime 15 minutes later. Do this for 3 days and watch for these signs 1) their mood at bedtime and 2) how long it takes them to fall asleep.
If your child is going to bed with extra energy, more crankiness, or taking longer than 10 minutes to fall asleep, then your child is not ready for this change.
If your child, is still falling asleep within 10-15 minutes and you have not seen any significant changes in their mood at bedtime then great! Keep it here or after 3 days, shift it another 15 minutes.
You will want to watch for the same signs as before: extra energy, a second wind, more crankiness, bedtime battles or stalling, or taking longer than 10-15 minutes to fall asleep.
If you see any of the above signs, your child is not ready and you will need to go back 15 minutes. If you do not see any significant changes, then keep their bedtime here for the summer!
Summer can be filled with lots of excitement and activities, so maybe you do this for a few weeks or for the whole summer. It’s up to you! Keep in mind, with a later bedtime you may need to add in a 30-60 minute afternoon rest time to prevent their little body's from getting too overtired. And let’s be honest, that gives Mom and Dad a little rest too!
As you move through the summer, if you notice your child struggling more at bedtime, simply move it back to their original bedtime. This will help them get back on track with the rest they need!
Are you looking to get your child’s sleep back on track, but not sure where to start? Let’s chat! Schedule your Free 15-minute Introductory call here!