This post on summer bedtime routines is sponsored by Orajel but the opinions are 100% my own.
Summer is the best season ever. Well, if you asked me my opinion. Even in hot Texas I love being outside, swimming, playing, tubing, eating Popsicles, going for walks, and letting my kids catch fireflies after dark. Add in the fireworks on the 4th of July, movies in the park after dark, travel, vacations, family reunions, and extra time spent with friends, and summer is the bomb!Unfortunately, these explosively fun and awesome activities often turn our little children into ticking time bombs as their sleep schedules are thrown off and routines and naps are abandoned in the name of summer fun.
It can be rough.
While I used to be a staunch opponent to letting kids stay up late or skipping naps, in the last few months, my stance has softened. Our kids still have a bedtime, and I still firmly believe in naps, but when the occasion calls for a fun time, that extends past 8:30pm, we opt in.
In order to maintain our regular good bedtime habits, yet stay up late with friends, we’ve adopted the following habits:
How to Do Bedtime During the Summer (When Not at Home)
Whenever possible, plan activities more than an hour from now. This will allow you more time to plan how the day will go and what, if anything, you need to do or bring beforehand.
If we know we’ll be hanging out at our friends’ house, playing games, watching a movie, or swimming in the river until well after dark (and bedtime), we try to make ALL of our kids (and sometimes ourselves) take a nap that day. This ensures that there will be less tantrums, bad attitudes, and anger from all of us that night, as well as the next day.
What do with the Baby
If you know you’ll be staying up late at someone’s house, and you happen to have a baby, like we do, plan to put her down at her normal bedtime still. Little babies aren’t as resilient to not sleeping as are older toddlers, preschoolers, and grade schoolers. They will fuss and whine and squirm when they are overtired, preventing you from enjoying the evening.We either bring a pack n’ play or use the one our friends’ have and put our baby down to bed in it around 8:30pm, her regular bedtime. We often put her in a closet that is nice and dark: this helps her fall asleep and not hear the rest of us still having a good time.
If they have a baby monitor, or you do, hook it up if you are worried about hearing her wake up while you’re playing games elsewhere in the house.
If you had adequate time to plan, you can also make sure to bring pajamas as well as her toothbrush and Orajel training toothpaste so that she’ll be completely ready for night-night.
If your baby has a favorite blanket, lovey, or pacifier, be sure to bring those as well.
What to do with toddlers
With our three year old son we try to have him go to bed by lying down on a couch while watching a movie (or without a movie) with a blanket, or by putting him in someone’s bed, if he is being exceptionally crazy and/or crabby. Otherwise we let him stay awake until we leave.If we’re on top of it, we also bring his favorite blanket, his pajamas, and his toothbrush and toothpaste.
What to do with gradeschoolers
We let our six year old twins stay up with us (unless it’s going to be super late because the adults are playing a very intense game of Hand and Foot and cannot call it quits!), but sometimes they’ll fall asleep on their own while lying down in front of a TV or elsewhere.
Again, if we’re on top of things, we bring pajamas so they don’t have to change when they get home late (even though we tell them they don’t have to change; sometimes just want to), and bring toothbrushes and toothpaste so that we ensure their teeth get brushed that night.
Our kids usually fall asleep on the car ride home. We want to transition them as quickly and smoothly as possible from car to bed/crib so that no one fusses. They are often too tired to function after falling asleep on the ride home to even think about standing upright in the bathroom for two whole minutes to brush their teeth or to change their clothes, so brushing their teeth and changing before we drive home ensures it happens.
We also ask them go potty before we leave to go home so they won’t forget to do so before jumping into bed. This applies to our three year old as well. (I prefer to avoid pee stain mattresses.)
Other things we do are read scriptures (via phone) and say prayers during the car ride home so that we hit all the checks of our normal bedtime routine.
What You Shouldn’t Miss
One of the big things that’s hard about screwing with their bedtime routine is that we often forget to bring the toothbrushes and toothpaste. This is especially worrisome as we are often snacking on starchy chips, indulging in delicious sweets, and drinking sugary beverages. The residue from these foods aren’t great to have linger on your teeth overnight. That’s why brushing is so important.
To better make our kids oral hygiene a priority during the awesomeness that is summer fun and late nights, we’ve picked up extra Orajel toothbrushes and toothpaste for our kids and are keeping them in my purse or in our car. That way, after we finish eating, snacking, and drinking for the night at our friends’ house, we can brush their teeth before it gets too late and they fall asleep.
Summer schedules and activities are hard on kids as you mess with schedules, bedtime, naps, and even regular diets, but opting into the fun, late nights of summer create memories you’ll cherish forever.
Can you guess when some of my favorite childhood memories happened?
Yup! In the summers.
What are your favorite parts about summer and how do you make sure your kids are still keeping a semblance of bedtime routines, oral health care, and sleep needs during it?