2 Tips for Getting Kids to Sleep When It’s Light Outside

Slight modifications to transition your bedtime routine as the seasons change.

There’s much to celebrate when spring arrives: warmer weather, anticipating a vacation from school, and gardening likely top your list.

The transition from the dark days of winter to the brightness of spring can certainly be a breath of fresh air.

While you likely feel a boost in morale and energy as the seasons change, your kids will also be adjusting to (what may feel like) their first experience with longer days. They’ll want to enjoy each moment of sunshine and helping them get enough sleep can become challenge.

Luckily, there are two simple areas to think about when helping babies (or bigger kids) learn to sleep despite the sunlight. First, you’ll want to look at useful gear for spring and summer sleeping. Then take a moment to think through how your normal bedtime routine might need slight modifications as the seasons change.

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How to Get Kids to Sleep When It’s Light Outside

Tip #1 - Use Helpful Gear for Restful Sleep

While there are many sleep props marketed to help your little ones rest soundly, certain items can become your biggest allies as the days get longer.

Here’s our favorite gear to help your little one fall asleep even when it’s light outside:

  • Blackout Shades - Good quality blackout shades or blackout curtains are well worth your investment. When drawn, blackout curtains can make any room comfortably dark for sleeping. This will help to reinforce that it’s bedtime inside, even though the sun may be shining brightly outside still.
  • White Noise Maker - Noise makers come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. You can invest in something portable, use an app on your phone, or just plug in a fan to produce some background noise. Consistently having some sort of white noise is a perfect cue for baby to know that it’s time to sleep.
  • Temperature Control - Try to make sure the temperature in baby’s room is as controlled as possible, and dress baby in lighter layers for bedtime during the warmer months. Having a thermometer in baby’s room will help you decide if a fan or air conditioning are needed for baby’s comfort.
  • Wake-Up Clock - For toddlers and older children, a wake up clock shows a graphic or color to indicate whether it’s time to sleep or time to get up. Wake up clocks can be helpful in reminding kids that, although it may be light outside, it’s time to lay down and go to sleep.

Tip #2 - Routines Bear Repeating

Longer days, warmer weather, and freedom from the daily routines of school and daycare can be wonderful for rejuvenating. Yet it’s important to maintain a sleep schedule for your little one.

Here are some easy ways to transition your bedtime routine to spring (and summer):

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  • Predictable Patterns - Follow the bedtime patterns you’ve already established. If you typically put on pjs, read stories, brush teeth, and then head to bed, continue that routine. Predictable patterns help kids feel secure about what’s coming next as their day winds down. You’ll also want a streamlined routine that can work whether you’re home or away on vacation this summer.
  • Bathtime Bliss - While you may need to wash off dirt from playing outdoors, be careful not to let bathtime get too wild. Too much excitement can make it difficult for little ones to wind down during a bath.
  • Goodbye Screens - Consider skipping screen time before bedtime. Instead of winding down watching a show, transition your child to reading books or talking with you about his day.  Electronics can be overstimulating and make it difficult for kids to slow down and be ready to sleep.
  • Diminish the Light - If using blackout curtains in the nursery isn’t a big enough cue for your little sleeper, you’ll want to slowly diminish light prior to bedtime. Drawing curtains around the house and using minimal lighting can help further to cue children that it’s bedtime.

At the end of the day, when the sunshine is beckoning you little one to continue playing, remember that kids may not appear tired but they really are. Stick to your routines and look forward to a restful night of sleep for all. 

Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger

Jess Wartinger resides in rural New York with her husband and five children. Formerly an early elementary teacher, Jess currently spends her time loving her kids and holding down the fort at home.

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