This post is an excerpt of mine from a July 2021 BACKYARD CAMP issue/email newsletter!
You must check out this Canadian website for families. I’ve copied some information below about the creative, fun, and smart activities and challenges they share for parents to keep their kids busy, active, and learning.
SLEEP TIPS FOR THE LAZY DAYS OF SUMMER
These are the lazy days of summer. Don’t you just love them?
School pressures and routines are a distant memory for kids right now. In the beautiful warm weather, we’re all more relaxed and spontaneous, and able to plan excursions and activities with them.
It’s easy to relax our household routines right now too! This is wonderful for our families, but can be chaotic. Routines keep our homes and families running efficiently, because everyone knows what’s expected and what’s coming up next.
When it comes to bedtime, I say stick with routines, no matter what season it is! Relaxing sleep routines can create chaos and invite challenging behaviour from our kids.
Here are some tips to enhance bedtime in your family this summer:
1) Set up, or tweak your kids’ bedtime routines with their input about what’s best for them! What do they love to do at bedtime?
a warm bubbly bath
a story or two
some thoughtful conversation about all the great stuff that happened that day
making plans for the activities and outfits for tomorrow
and of course, lots of snuggling with parents, pets, siblings, and stuffies
What unique rituals does your family have at bedtime? Add them to the list!
2) Get your child involved in setting up a comfy and personal sleep space. Ask them what are things they want to do, or create in their room and around their bed to help make their sleep amazing?
3) Talk about the benefits of good sleep with your children. If they understand what their job is and how they can help their brain and body, they’ll be on board to follow the routines. Some ideas to discuss include:
at night, we need to get our bodies ready for sleep, and help it get tired. We can show it that it’s ready for sleeping
our bodies need sleep just like good nutrition, exercise, and water
our bodies develop and grow when we’re sleeping! While we’re dreaming, our bodies get strong so they can heal injuries, fight illnesses, build up more energy, and grow!
our brains need sleep so we can remember stuff, focus and concentrate better during the day, imagine, and solve problems.
4) Share your dreams with each other in the morning. Before bed, try to predict what you might dream about! Maybe start a dream journal for drawing or write down the dream plot lines. Do both!
Some questions for discussion may include: what are dreams? What are the stories in your head at night? Can you remember them and draw a picture in the morning? These conversations can be very funny!
With any family routine, you’ll get more “buy in” from your kids if they feel their voices are heard, and their wants and needs are addressed. Ask them what they think, want, and need and then incorporate their ideas into cozy bedtime activities. Hopefully, if they understand benefits of sleep, they’ll be motivated to cooperate and embrace healthy habits around this important life skill.
I wish you and your families sweet dreams and restful sleep this summer!
More about Backyard Camp:
Backyard Camp offers a free and paid email newsletter for parents and caregivers who would like help programming their child’s play activities. Unlike the various blogs that list many ideas for parents, Backyard Camp’s uniqueness is in the specificity and detail of its programming. This newsletter is personalized to the needs of each family’s circumstances, meaning the content received will be tailored for factors like the child’s age, activity preferences (e.g. crafts, sports), number of children and if they’re living in a house or building.
The content is provided by a range of contributors, from teachers to experienced camp counsellors. They’ve also partnered with existing programs, to share their expertise with the broader community and contribute to helping parents.
For many more tips, grab a copy of Jane's book, Launch Your Kid: How to Promote Your Child’s Academic & Personal Success (without being a helicopter parent)