Making Summer More Enjoyable: Consistent Routines vs. Rigid Schedules
Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?? Summer should be a time to slow down and go with the flow. From family visits to pool parties, beach days to bonfires…slow down and enjoy it.
The same goes for your little one’s sleep. Focus on going with the flow this summer, rather than being tied down to a rigid schedule. I’m NOT saying to throw the schedule out the window but allow for life to happen without stressing about strict nap- or bedtimes.
I’m talking to you as both a mom and a professional sleep consultant right now.
If your baby, toddler, or young child has a solid sleep foundation and is an independent sleeper, there is no reason to say no to a beach day or a fun family get-together simply because your child needs a nap. There’s no reason NOT to go to the neighbor’s pool party just because it’ll likely go past bedtime. Your child has decent sleep skills, so there is no battling against overtiredness or trying to catch up on sleep debt.
However, if your child is struggling with sleep, let’s get that taken care of so you can all enjoy your summer! Make sure you reach out to me and set up a call if you’re not sure where to start.
With most things in life, we should practice moderation. I like to think of summer being the time of year where we can loosen up a bit when it comes to following all of the sleep rules.
By “loosen up” I simply mean follow those rules most of the time, but it’s okay to go and do all the fun things you want to do. Your child will definitely let you know if it’s too much!
Here are a few tips to help you have THE BEST summer and still have quality sleep:
Tip 1 – Stick to your child’s routine when you put them down for a nap or bedtime.
Routines are magical. Let’s say you’re putting your baby down for a nap 45 minutes later than usual because you had swimming lessons that morning. Follow your same routine, maybe just condensed, and lay baby down for their nap! They’ll likely be asleep in minutes.
Or, let’s say the family reunion starts at 1:00 – right in the middle of nap time – try for a quick car nap on the way there to take the edge off (do as much of the routine as you can before you put your baby in the car seat), then do early bedtime that night to make up for the short nap, again, following your child’s bedtime routine. Going to bed likely won’t be an issue at all.
Or how about those Fourth of July fireworks that might wake your baby up at 10:00 at night?? If your baby wakes, simply go in, wait for the show to be over, do a quick reset with the routine, and lay your baby back down. They’ll be snoozin’ again in no time.
Tip 2 – Try to do some naps on the go!
Carseat, carrier, or stroller naps might end up being your best friend this summer, especially if you want to be out enjoying the weather. There are three things you should try to do to provide a quality nap on the go: bring a portable sound machine; bring some sort of blackout or darkening solution; use a portable fan. White noise can help drown out the other sounds, helping your baby stay asleep. Providing darkness always helps with providing more quality sleep, and airflow is key, especially on a warm day. Refer to a previous blog post, Making Sure Your Baby is Comfortable for Sleep for tips on how to dress baby appropriately for this time of year.
Tip 3 – Bring along the pack’n’play!
Let’s say you’re invited to your friends’ house for an evening pool party and cookout. Your baby’s bedtime is normally 7:00. Set up the pack’n’play, do the bedtime routine, and start bedtime at the party! I doubt anyone is going to say no to your sweet sleeping baby crashing in their room for a few hours while you enjoy the party. Simply transfer your baby to their crib when you get home. Again, you may need to do a quick reset with the last few steps of the routine, but your baby should be back to sleep in no time.
Tip 4 – Plan travel times around nap time.
Driving up north to spend a week at the lakehouse? Booking that flight to the coast for a week? As best you can, try to plan travel times to correlate with nap time. Bring the white noise machine and your child’s blankie (if they’re older than 12 months), go through their routine, and put them in their car seat! *POOF* They’ll be out in no time and you can enjoy the first few hours of your trip with your baby sleeping soundly in the backseat.
If your little one is still in the newborn stage, plan for stops about every 2 hours for feedings and diaper changes.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Make sure you follow along on Instagram @joliesleep for more tips and information!
Written By Steffi Edwin
June 1 2021