During your kids’ summer vacation from school, it’s natural that your normal “rules” become somewhat limited. Without the strict schedule of education, children are free to relax and bask in the feeling of freedom the summer break provides.
However, there is one aspect of the summer vacation period that causes a huge amount of debate amongst parents: should the time your child goes to sleep change?
The pro argument
Proponents of a later bedtime during the summer vacation believe that children should be able to enjoy a little more flexibility during the summer. A standard school schedule tends to be very rigid, entirely by design – children respond well to structure, after all. As this structure can be relaxed during the summer period, there is no need for children to head to bed as early as they would be required to during term time.
In addition, the pro argument notes that days are longer during the summer, which can mean that abiding to a normal bedtime can mean a child trying to sleep even when it’s still bright outside. This can make it very difficult to sleep and can cause stress and upset for children.
The anti argument
On the reverse side of this debate is the argument that children respond well to structure, that the benefits of establishing a routine are well known, and that there is no particular reason for an established bedtime to change just because of a lack of school. What’s more, the adjustment back to a standard schedule when it’s time to return back to school can be complicated if this routine was disturbed during the summer.
So who is right?
Well, frankly, both arguments have their merit, which is why the debate can never be conclusively settled. Allowing your children more flexibility can help to improve their summer, which can be invaluable.
However, there is also no denying that routine is beneficial for children, and ensuring your child is well-rested during this time can guarantee they make the most of their time off school.
So, essentially, everyone is right – and the best solution to the debate may be to opt for the best of both worlds. Rather than moving bedtime back an hour, opt for a more flexible approach; for example, bedtime is no longer 7pm sharp, but a more open “between 7pm and 8pm”. This ensures there is still an element of routine, but without the usual rigidity.
The one issue you will have to overcome to manage this approach is the issue of your children being able to sleep while it’s still daylight outside; our example of “7pm to 8pm” as a bedtime slot would cause this issue. If you experience this problem, then a few simple switches to your child’s bedroom should help to resolve your concerns. Opt for blackout blinds that help to keep their room as dark as possible, consider a mattress comfort upgrade from the likes of the new Purple Mattress range, and choose bedding that is made from a light, breathable fabric to ensure they won’t be too hot to sleep. With these measures combined, your child should be able to sleep well, even if the sun has yet to set.
Ultimately, the choice you make regarding your child’s summer bedtime is for you alone to make – but the points above may well be able to provide you with some guidance to make sure you arrive at the right choice.