Summer is here and sleep schedules may be a bit chaotic. For many kids, summer is a time to enjoy the longer days by staying up later with friends or family, but staying up late can lead to a stress filled following day. Rachel Dawkins, M.D., with Johns Hopkins “No matter the season, kids need a certain number of hours of sleep each night for better behavior, mental health, memory and a stronger immune system. Children who regularly miss out on enough sleep also have more behavioral issues, are more irritable and have trouble concentrating.”

How Much Sleep is Enough Sleep?

When choosing a sleep schedule, it’s important to ensure your kids are getting the correct amount of sleep. If they are not getting enough, or even getting too much sleep, it can cause a variety of issues. The following list outlines the suggested amount of sleep your child should get on average per day, including naps. Keep in mind that every child is different so be sure to adjust to your child’s specific needs. If your little one struggles to get enough sleep or is oversleeping dramatically every day, you may want to talk to their doctor.

  • Infants (1 to 2 years old) – 11 to 14 hours per day (including naps)
  • Toddlers (3 to 5 years old) – 10 to 13 hours per day (including naps)
  • Children (6 to 12 years old) – 9 to 12 hours per day
  • Teens (13 to 18 years old) – 8 to 10 hours per day

Try to Stay Consistent

Following a consistent sleep routine helps train your brain to naturally feel tired when it’s bedtime. This is not an easy task during the summer months but with a little discipline your consistent bedtime will result in happier kids the next day. As part of the routine, try to avoid things that require dependence on the parent such as laying next to the child, rocking them, rubbing their back or singing to them. If they require these type of soothing techniques to go to sleep, they will also require it  when they wake up in the middle of the night. Create a routine that is easy for you to stay consistent with. A simple routine might include taking a bath, getting in pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a book together and getting some snuggles, dimming the lights and then walking out of the room to allow your child to fall asleep on their own. A bedtime routine does not need to be long. You can do a bedtime routines in as little as 10 minutes or maybe a little longer if they are taking a bath.

Keep it Dark

Melatonin is our sleepy hormone and it is impacted by light. Having a dark bedroom will make it easier for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep even with the extra hours of sunlight. It should be dark during the day for naps as well. Investing in some room darkening curtains can make all the difference in creating an ideal environment for your child’s sleep.

It’s important that your kids are getting the right amount of sleep in order to grow healthy and strong. So while sleeping in a bit more often than usual is okay, we hope you and your kids find a summer sleep routine that ensures everyone is getting a healthy amount of sleep every day. This summer, enjoy the sunshine, travel, and quality time, but also enjoy those Zzzz’s too!