picture of a child asleep cuddling a tedding bear

Expert advice on getting your children to sleep during the summer holidays

The summer holidays are just around the corner, and when children aren’t motivated by school the next day, it can be a challenge to get them to settle. The excitement of summer creates ‘FOMO’ for little ones, meaning ‘fear of missing out’, so bed by 9pm doesn’t sound so appealing.

Knowing how daunting the lack of routine can be, bed furnishings expert Ashley Hainsworth of Bed Kingdom has created a guide to help parents of young children win their bedtime battles.

Consistency is key

The classic bath, book, and bed routine is an effective method and, when done consistently, eliminates fuss. By starting this tradition around the same time each night, your little ones will know what to expect and should respond positively. This routine can look different for every family, so do it your way and enjoy this quality time.

Make it fun! You can let your children use toys in the bath and pick their favourite books so that they can look forward to this time. As soon as your children view the bedtime routine as boring, making them comply is tough.

Remember, humans respond positively to routines, so whatever you choose to do, make it consistent.

Create the right environment

Little ones need a suitable area and bed for their needs; consider how comfortable your child’s mattress is and whether they have enough space.

Everyone has their own tendencies. Some people like just one pillow, while others like multiple layers of comfort.

Your child could find sleeping uncomfortable but may not be able to express why, so checking these factors should help you identify why your little one isn’t looking forward to bedtime. Communicate with your child to discover their preferences and how you can cater to them.

Dispel any fears

Children can often fear being alone, especially in the dark. If your child fears the dark, it is worth investing in a night light to ease any worries. A comforter such as a special blanket or soft toy will also help to soothe your child and ensure a blissful sleep.

Communication returns here, as not all fears are textbook. If your child has serious objections at bedtime, it is important to give them the opportunity to explain why. Listening to your child should help you understand any issues you are facing.

Avoid too much screen time

Although it is tempting to place a screen in front of your child when you’re exhausted, try not to do this within the hour before their bedtime, as this may come back to bite you.

Bed Kingdom research has found that 33% of young children who use screens at night, are often not asleep before midnight. However, 2 out of 3 children whose bedrooms are screen-free at night are fast asleep before 9pm.

Do yourself a favour and avoid gadgets at nighttime; this will prevent a struggle when waking up your children and returning to the school routine.  

picture of a mum reading a child a bedtime story

The bedtime story

Bedtime stories are an excellent way to make your child look forward to bedtime and settle. Not only can they inspire your child’s imagination, but they can also relax your little one as you read to them softly.

Bedtime stories are also a great way to maintain your child’s engagement in education while they are away from school.

Eliminate noise

Summer can be a noisy time. During the lighter nights, people tend to stay outside longer, and BBQs and street parties aren’t the ideal backdrops for your child’s slumber.

If your little one is particularly bothered by noise, investing in noise-cancelling headphones could be your answer. You could also experiment with white noise this summer and see if a fan would distract your child from their bustling surroundings.

Let your child self-settle

During bedtime, attempt to leave the room before your little one nods off, as this will help them self-settle. Start by sitting on the end of the bed, moving a little more towards the door each night until you can say ‘goodnight’ and leave with confidence. This method will take some trial and error but is an excellent way to develop your child’s independence.

Ensuring your child is not dependent on your presence to fall asleep will give you time to attend to your own needs and to-do list. It will also prevent issues occurring in the future with sleepovers and babysitters.

Keep the bedroom cool

With the warmth of summer able to disturb even the deepest sleepers, it is important to keep your child’s bedroom cool to ensure a restful night. Sleeping patterns can be dictated by temperature, so ensure you don’t make it too cold when cooling your child's room.

The optimum temperature for sleep is 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be moderated with multiple methods. For summer, taking away unneeded blankets and opening windows is ideal. Switching off unnecessary electronics can also reduce a room’s temperature, and you could prioritize using your electricity for a fan.

Be sure to check in on your little one’s bedroom a few times before you go to bed yourself, to see if the temperature has changed.


Bed-furnishings expert Ashley Hainsworth of Bed Kingdom has commented:

“During your efforts this summer, don’t forget to remain confident. Your assertiveness can affect your child’s response tremendously.

“Every child is different, so don’t lose hope if one method doesn’t work – simply try another. Bedtime success is achievable for everyone, but it can often be a case of trial and error to determine what works best for your child and your parenting style.”

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