The Story of...Chloé Huth
A sleep consultant shares her summer sleeping tips
Three years ago I started The Sleepy Baby in order to support families who need help in improving the sleeping patterns of their newborns, infants and toddlers. I always start by trying to understand the family structure and origin of the sleep difficulty, and then try to find the most appropriate way for everyone to get a better nights’ sleep. Each family has its own values and history which I try to cherish and protect in my work.
The sleeping environment can have one of the most profound effects on children’s quality of sleep. This impact is even more pronounced in the summer, when our circadian rhythms are influenced by longer light periods, resulting in tired kids and tired parents.
Here are a few tips for getting enough sleep this summer and having happy, well-rested kids. Of course, this is general advice...every child is different and every family has its own way. Age, developmental stage, family history and individual characteristics can all influence a child’s sleep patterns.
Sun exposure Spend plenty of time outside during the day, especially in the morning. Morning light is crucial for our body to have a well-adjusted rhythm.
Dark bedrooms Keep bedrooms as dark as possible. Children struggle to go to bed when there is still so much light outside. A dark room will help with both night sleep and nap times.
Physical activity Make the most out of the warm weather and try new outdoor activities. Physical stimulation is a wonderful way to make sure kids have had ample opportunity during the day to exercise and experiment with their new skills.
Stick to routine A normal routine allows kids to have recognizable markers in their day. Kids are often exposed to new people and places during the summer holidays, so keeping a routing can be calming and reassuring...the perfect recipe for a good nights’ sleep! Once children have reached 3 years old, however, there can be a bit more flexibility. Kids at this age have already developed the cognitive ability to understand exceptions.
Stop the evening rush Slow down at the end of the day. Rushing from the playground, to dinner and then bedtime isn’t easy on a child. They need time to slow down, preparing themselves both physiologically and psychologically for the night’s sleep.
Keep it cool Be sure to dress them in lightweight clothes and try to circulate air in their bedroom. Heat is not sleep-friendly!
Don’t skip naps It’s not easy to pause for a nap when the sun is shining and everyone is enjoying the day. But for those children still in the napping stage, sleep is even more necessary to recover from all that physical activity and stimulation.
Establish a wake-up ritual During the summer babies often struggle with waking up too early because of the early sunlight. Help them to understand when is the right time to wake up with a recognizable ritual.
Chloé Huth is a child psychologist and founder of The Sleepy Baby and a member of the Wunder Stories community.