Ahhh, summer. The time when the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the days last forever. Well, at least here in the Pacific Northwest. In our neck of the woods, during the heart of summer, we get our first slivers of daylight not long after 4:30 a.m., and twilight stretches nearly to the 10 o’clock hour. Our 4th of July fireworks launched almost at 10 p.m.
But with that utopia of fun comes a danger lurking just below the horizon…the summer schedule hazards.
The amazingness that is long warm days and sangria or margaritas in the backyard can often create a schedule hazard for parents. The internal clock of your little ones may get thrown off after begging to stay up late, or fighting bedtime while daylight still streams through their window. Our baby is 10 months old and we’re trying very hard to stay on schedule as Mother Nature’s sirens try to lure us back outside.
After swimming lessons, playing in the water table, trips to the park, and learning to walk, our guy is usually pretty tuckered out come bedtime. Though, like I’m sure your infant likes to do, the second you put them down in the crib, boom — they’re wide awake. What’s a parent to do?
Our solution has been to stick as best we can to our routine. Certainly not rocket science, but it’s been a very important factor for us. We work (very) hard to keep him on schedule during the day – we’re still at two naps a day – and that has helped us maintain a rather reasonable nighttime transition. During the late afternoon and through dinner time, we keep him engaged, entertained, and active, encouraging the wiggles to get out. Which we’ve found helps encourage a little sleepiness when the time is right.
Our most significant and important tip? We also use audio cues to signal the fact it’s time for bed. We call it the “Bedtime Train” – choo choo’s and everything – (post coming very soon.) It signals to him it’s time to start getting ready for bed and wind down the day. He has really taken to it, and it is remarkably effective.
Summer schedule hazards can come in all forms. Trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, team activities, dinners with friends, long days, summer trip excitement, and many more. We’ve found sticking to our daily routine has helped significantly when it comes time for bed. That’s often easier said than done and means mom and dad miss out on few things. But the payoff has been significant and remember summer is only three months long and if you’re like us in the Northwest, it’ll soon be dark for most the day to help lull them to sleep.