Now that summer is in full swing, it seems natural to extend bedtimes for children. Schedules change and some activities last later into the evening. Even some friends seem to be playing and engaging in activities later into the evening when compared to evenings during the school year. Children often negotiate for later bedtimes and seem genuinely more awake and energetic. So, how much should bedtime routines change during the summer? Of course, there is no hard and fast rule, but consider the following…
- Maintaining a solid night’s sleep that includes an appropriate duration for your child as well as maintaining a household that allows for restful sleep. There are two important points here. One, if bedtime is extended, allowing for the morning routine to also allow for an extended wake up time. And, allowing for a quiet household that supports a good night’s sleep for children. When there are older children/adolescents in the home or parents who naturally stay up later, making sure that the sleeping hours for children are maintained as to allow for a restful night’s sleep so that they get quality sleep is important.
- Because sleep patterns are partially behavioral patterns, maintaining similar bedtime routines is important. Even if bedtime is shifted by 30 minutes to an hour in the summer, maintaining the same general routine in getting ready for bed and sleep is very helpful in promoting a healthy night of sleep.
- If your child has a mood disorder or behavioral disorder, I would recommend maintaining a consistent night’s sleep with a consistent bedtime routine throughout the summer and all year around. Even if the timing of getting to bed shifts a little in the summer, a consistent targeted bedtime is best practice.