Look, I love me some summer. Nothing makes me happier than jumping in the pool on a hot summer day, listening to the jams and enjoying some BBQ with friends. BUT…
When you’ve got a little one who already doesn’t sleep through the night, it can feel like Summer is playing an evil trick on you.
The sun comes up at the butt crack of O dark 30 and then has the nerve to stay up past 8 pm. What gives?
And let’s not even talk about if you’re traveling to another time zone. Forget it! Your baby’s schedule will be all screwed up.
Oh and don’t even get me started on fireworks! I’m all for celebrating my Independence but at 2 in the morning, it’s time for everyone to go night, night. SERIOUSLY!
But the good news is, there’s hope.
Which is why I wrote today’s blog post. I want to give you three easy strategies to help your little one sleep in (so you can too) and enjoy these beautiful dog days of summer.
Let’s dive right in.
Strategy #1: Go Dark
And no I’m not talking about what Paul did to April on Mistresses (btw, if you’re not watching Mistresses add it to your DVR pronto…you can thank me later)
What I mean is you’ve got to prevent the sunlight from streaming into your baby’s room and waking her up.
I literally want you to black out her nursery windows within an inch of their life.
And no, black drapes WILL. NOT. CUT. IT.
You’ll need real black out curtains so that not even a sliver of light comes streaming through.
I’m a big fan of the Gro Anywhere Black Out Blinds because they’ll work with any size window and are portable. So if you’re traveling to Aunt Sally’s house this summer you’ll have a way to keep your baby’s room super dark away from home.
Why does the room need to be dark?
Because sunlight messes with our circadian rhythms (our body’s block that regulates when we sleep and when we wake) and tells our body that it’s time to be awake. So when the sun rises and starts streaming into your baby’s room, she’ll be raring to go at 5:30 am. By simply creating a dark nursery, you are stacking the sleep cards in your favor.
Strategy #2: Stop Being Loosey Goosey
During the summer months, kids are out of school and our calendars are full of fun activities. I mean who doesn’t love fun trip to grandma’s house?
But when you’re around friends and family, you may be tempted to keep your little one up pass her bedtime. She hasn’t seen grandma in forever and what’s a couple of hours amongst friends, right?
Oh man! Sometimes even keeping your baby up 15 minutes pass their normal bedtime can wreck havoc on their sleep. So here’s my advice: Don’t do it (on regular basis). I’m a huge believer in the 90//10 rule. 90% of the time, get your baby in bed between 6-8 pm and the other 10% time you can fudge her bedtime a bit. But can you make me one HUGE promise?
Promise me that you won’t be loosey goosey by letting her stay up late on the weekends. Promise me that you set a regular time bedtime and stick to it (every day of the week, all year long, using our 90/10 rule).
Pinky swear? Ok, cool.
Strategy #3: It’s Time For An Intermission
Remember in high school after around Act 3 of the school play, there was a quick intermission so they can change the set for the next part of the play? Well that’s what I want you to start doing with your little one’s sleep.
Instead of rushing her from playtime to dinner to bedtime routine to bed, give her a quick minute to get her bearings.
Here’s how an intermission works:
After dinner, you take her into the dimly light nursery (with white noise playing softly in the background) and let her have quiet play right before bath.
Then after bath time, you let her have quiet play again (15 mins or less) before beginning the rest of your bed time routine.
The idea here is that you’re giving her a chance to wind down from all the chaos of the day and realize it’s now time for bed.
What exactly is quiet play?
Playtime with anything without a power button. Think lovies, dolls, puzzles, books, songs. Any activity that will help her wind down and get ready for bed. So that means having a tickle fest with Daddy right before bedtime is out.
Save things like TV, iPads or anything with an on/off switch for daytime. Remember in strategy #1 where I talked about how sunshine messes with our circadian rhythms? Well the blue light from our electronics does the exact same thing. So put the electronics away at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Now I want to hear from you.
In the comments below tell me:
What’s your biggest struggle with getting your baby to sleep during the Summer months?
Let’s fill the interwebs with good sleep solutions so tired mamas all over the world can get some summertime shut eye.
To enjoying summertime (and sleeping like did when we were kids),