Early Risers and Night Owls

Getting your child to sleep even if the sun is up

Sunset from Megan

Some of our little early-risers are up as soon as the sun is. I have a daughter like that. She seems to sense when the sun is even thinking about coming up. She jumps out of bed, eager to start the day.

Maybe you have a child who prefers the summer nights and resists bedtime because “it is still light outside”.

The longer days of summer can lead our children to resist bedtime or wake too early in the morning or maybe both. It becomes difficult for our children to receive the correct amount of sleep each night.

  • Some tips to protect sleep for our children:
  •  1. Spend time each day in that wonderful sunshine. The outside air is refreshing for each of us. Going for a walk can calm and relax a fussy baby. A toddler loves to explore the amazing outdoors where everything is new to them. Even a tired parent will feel better after spending some time outdoors.
    -Find a new park or area to visit each week of the summer.
    -Make at least a once per week play date to connect with other parents and children. It is enjoyable for our children to connect with children their same age. It is refreshing for you, the parent, to talk with other parents dealing with the same issues you are.
  • 2. Nap time is important. Yes, it is hard to fit those naps in when you have a busy day planned, but sleep must be a priority. You would not forget to feed your child because it did not fit into your schedule so don’t leave out the nap either. It is just as important as food for the growth and health of your child.
  • 3. Plan for bedtime.
    -The activities prior to bedtime will influence the difficulty or ease of bedtime. If your child is having a fun activity, remind the child how much longer that activity is. Give them a 10-minute reminder and then a 5- minute reminder. Don’t negotiate with your child about the time. Give the child clear guidelines and be firm with them.
    -Use your bedtime routine to relax your child to prepare for sleep. A bath can be very relaxing and necessary if the child has been playing outside. A massage while you are talking over the fun events of the day will be relaxing and fun for child and parent. For a young child, you the parent, will review the day for them.
  • 4. The sleep environment needs to promote sleep.
    -Try to keep the bedroom a comfortable temperature. The use of a fan can serve two purposes; cool the room and provide some background noise.
    -Make sure the room is dark. Light tells the brain to wake up. Use room darkening blinds or curtains to block out light which will make it easier for your child to fall asleep at bedtime and to stay asleep in the morning.

Enjoy the longer days of summer. Enjoy the nights of sleep too.

Helping Babies and Children Sleep

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Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

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