Should Kids Have a Bedtime During Summer Break?

Should Kids Have a Bedtime During Summer Break?


It’s an internal debate I have all summer long – Should I let my kids sleep in during summer?

I’m the first to admit it – I love going off routine in the summer.

I adore that summer camp doesn’t start until 9 am and that camp counselors don’t care if you show up late.

I love that everything slows down a bit and I’m often tempted to let my kids stay up late and enjoy all the fun activities that summer has to offer.

However, I try not to go too far off the routine rails. It’s nice for a day or two but eventually, with no routine, my kids turn into overstimulated screeching maniacs.

It’s all fun and games until someone doesn’t get a freezie.

Are you asking yourself some of the same questions like should I try to keep the same bedtime routine in the summer? Or should I let my kids sleep in during summer?

We want to enjoy the short and sweet Canadian Summer, but I’ve learned that the stress of being “off routine” sometimes becomes worse than the stress of being “on routine”

Should kids have a bedtime during the summer break? Yes, they should – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same bedtime that they have during the school year.

With the goal of staying somewhat on track but still having an awesome summer – here are my top tips for having the best of both worlds.


Exposure to Light and Dark


While your child is supposed to be sleeping, keep their room as dark as possible. For children who are 2 years or older and may have developed a fear of the dark, you may use a night light or let light spill into the room from the door or window.

If your child is younger, keep the room dark. If you don’t have them already, hang blackout curtains and try your best to block out as much light as possible. This is especially helpful for early mornings and naps.

If light is blazing into your child’s room at 5:00 am, they will probably wake up and come blazing into your room soon after.

If the room is similarly bright for naps, they will probably have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. The light creeping into the room at nap time will remind them of the fun they are missing outside, so block out as much light as possible. For bedtime, it’s hard to convince a toddler to go to sleep at 8:30 pm when it’s still light outside. Blackout curtains will keep the light out and help your child focus on winding down.

On the flip side, when your child is not supposed to be sleeping, you want to expose them to as much natural light as possible. Let them go outside and soak up all the vitamin D that the summer sun has to offer. This will help to regulate their body clock so when bedtime does roll around, they will be ready to settle, enjoy a nice wind down and, a good night’s sleep.


Should Kids Have a Bedtime During Summer Break? – Yes! (sort of)


If you can, keep the schedule that you have in place during the school year, but if your child’s schedule changes, meaning that your schedule changes, try to keep the same bedtime routine and the same amount of sleep.

With the increased exposure to light, your wind down routine becomes more important than ever. Use the wind down routine to create a calming, quiet vibe that will help your child settle from their busy day. It’s not a huge deal if they go to bed a little later but it is a big deal if they start losing sleep. If their bedtime has changed, then their wake-up time should change as well. The most important thing is that they get adequate sleep for their age. So, should I let my kids sleep in during summer? Yes, it’s totally fine, as long as they are getting good sleep.

Don’t be afraid to say No


Your best friend has invited you to a summer BBQ that starts at 7:00 pm?

Ummm, not sure if that’s going to work.

Honestly, it’s a bummer that sometimes we have to say no to invitations but sometimes it’s just not worth it to say yes. How are you going to enjoy yourself if your child is mood swinging between hyperactive jubilation and manic temper tantrums because he is so tired? NO thank you.


Don’t be afraid to say Yes


Your best friend has invited you to a BBQ that starts at 5:00 pm.

Ummm, I think I can make that work. Yes please! I’ll bring potato salad.

Balance is the key. Saying no to some events will allow you to maintain control but if we say no to every invitation, you and your kids won’t have much fun this summer.

You will attend some events that require you to go off schedule but knowing this in advance can help you prepare. If you know you’re going to stay out a little later, let the kids sleep late that morning or let them take a later nap. Bring PJs and toothbrushes with you so if they fall asleep on the way home, you can easily transfer them to bed. Trust your instinct when it comes to summer events. If it feels like you can successfully enjoy them with your kids, go for it and have a blast.

See you at the beach!


Summer Sleep Promotion for June, July and August

The Beautiful Baby Sleep Summer Promo is still going strong for the months of July and August! Need sleep this summer? Check out the Summer Sleep Promotion.