Want a Later Bedtime in Summer? | Summer Sleep Training Tips for Kids
Excited about long summer days and warm evenings, but a little worried about how to enjoy it since your kid goes to bed so early?
Today, I’m sharing tips on how to sleep train a toddler and shift their bedtime a little later during those fun-filled summer months, while ensuring they still get a good night's sleep.
>>Watch this blog on my Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇
A few things to keep in mind before we get started…
You might think I’ve gone crazy, because if you’ve been around here for a while, you know I’m always telling you to have a nice, early bedtime for your child. But I’m also a mom, and we have to be realistic: it can be nice to stay up a little later during the sunny summer months.
We also have to be realistic about dealing with your kids’ biology when we’re influencing their sleep. Getting your child the healthy sleep they need is the priority. I mean, you wouldn’t try to get your kid to skip lunch because it worked better for your schedule. Ridiculous, right? Sleep has to be viewed the same way.
Summer sleep training tips for kids
These tips will work best for kids who already have good sleep training. This means they go to bed around the same time each night and sleep for 10-12 hours without waking up. If this is your kiddo, here’s how to move bedtime a little later during the summer without sacrificing their sleep.
Track their sleep ahead of time
Track your child's sleep for two weeks before you make any changes to see how many hours of sleep they need. It should land somewhere between 10-12 hours. This amount of sleep must be protected.
If you see that they usually get around 11 hours and, through this process, you see it dip to 10.5 hours, that’s a red flag. Once kids fall below their sleep needs, you may start seeing overnight wake ups and early rising in the 5:00 a.m. hour, which nobody wants.
Slowly adjust to the new bedtime
Start by moving bedtime 15 minutes later and keep that new bedtime for five days.
Keeping a sleep log to track your child's sleep is a major help and an important part of this process. The 2 things you definitely want to note in the log:
1) How long it takes them to fall asleep, and
2) What time they wake up in the morning.
You want them to consistently fall asleep within 20 minutes of lights out and sleep until at least 6 a.m.
Count up their hours of sleep, if they still get the same amount of total sleep with the later bedtime, you can continue by moving bedtime 15 minutes later for another five days.
Just to set your expectations, bedtime for kids under six years old will likely not be later than 8:30 p.m.
Three signs summer sleep training isn’t working out
Your child's total amount of sleep is decreasing.
It starts taking them a while to fall asleep at the later bedtime.
They start waking up earlier than 6 a.m.
If you see any of these three signs, move bedtime earlier again.
You don’t want to get stuck in a bad cycle of overtiredness.
One of the biggest benefits of having an awesome little sleeper is that when kids are good sleepers, they can usually be more flexible with their sleep schedule.
If you can keep bedtime consistent 90% of the time, good sleepers can handle staying up late every now and then for a late night at the pool or a neighbor’s BBQ without throwing their sleep off completely.
If your child isn’t already a good sleeper as we head into summer, join me in my next Toddler Sleep Masterclass so you can learn all about the REST Method to get sleep fixed! Reserve your spot, click here