Summer vacation is upon us. It’s the most fun time of year for so many things. *Fireworks! BBQs! Trips! Everlasting daylight! It’s also the hardest time of year to keep up with kids’ bedtime routines. (*See above.)
Do nightly routines actually matter in the summer? According to pediatricians and sleep researchers interviewed by The Washington Post, the answer is yes.
“But although experts say that [staying up late] on occasion is fine, they warn that parents shouldn’t stray too far from their kids’ usual bedtime during the summer. ‘Our clinic is filled in August with panicky families trying to figure out how to get their kids back on a school schedule,’ said Laura Sterni, director of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Sleep Center. ‘And that’s because if you let it go too far, it is not easy to do so.’”
The doctors interviewed offered several ideas on what makes a good bedtime routine for young children. British researchers published a study suggesting six key elements, “brushing teeth; having a consistent bedtime; reading a book; avoiding food and drink; avoiding electronic devices; and engaging in calming activities, which may include a bath or shower, or talking and cuddling.”
Yale Medicine sleep psychologist Lynelle Schneeberg suggests “the five B’s: bite (a small, non-sugary bedtime snack); bath; brushing teeth; bathroom (using the toilet); and books (reading with a caregiver).”
Bedtime Board Game combines so many of these bedtime routine elements, and it makes a wonderful gift to help young kids (and parents!) start summer vacation off on the right foot.
The game is a playful, cooperative way for families to take the struggle out of children’s evening tasks, including picking up toys, taking a bath, going potty, brushing teeth and putting pajamas on. Children move their characters around the colorful game board, earn gems for completing their bedtime routines, share sweet and thoughtful conversation by answering Cloud Card questions, and end by tucking their characters and themselves into bed.
Bedtime Board Game can be customized nightly, which is another reason it’s perfect for summer break. Families can choose and sequence Activity Cards depending on what they need to do on a given evening, and parents can even add their own activities on the blank cards included. (The game structure is easy enough for grandparents or babysitters to follow, too, in case Mom and Dad are lucky enough to get a summer vacation of their own!)
The game will also carry over well into a school-year routine at summer’s end. That’s important because, as The Washington Post puts it, “If you’ve established a bedtime routine that works for you and your child, all the experts cautioned against changing it too drastically in the summer months.”
Our favorite advice in The Washington Post article comes from George Kitsaras, the lead researcher in the British study.
Bedtime routines are only productive if you do them “in a very proactive, interactive, positive way with your children,” Kitsaras said. “If you replace them with anxiety, stress and a rushedness, that will go against everything that we are proposing.” The bond created between parent and child is “the vital element,” he said.