Hancock County families, can you believe that summer is almost over? With kids heading back to school at the end of the month, many parents are struggling with how to squeeze the last bits of goodness out of summer. And don’t even get us started on school year bedtimes and getting kids to go to bed when it is still light outside. What is a family to do?
It’s still summer!
Even though our kids head back to school when it is still hot outside, we can make the most of the time we have left by planning some summer fun the whole family can enjoy. Do your kids love swimming? Try to take them to the pool as much as you can, or splurge on an end of the summer trip to their favorite water park. If they love the great outdoors and hiking is their thing, then visit a few state parks before they head back into their school building.
Because they will need a week or two to get into the habit of going to bed early, mark on the calendar how much time they have left of staying up too late and enjoy every minute of it together. Nothing makes kids happier than side stepping their bedtime in favor of fun nighttime activities. Camp in the backyard, make s’mores on your firepit, have a cookout with friends and family, catch fireflies at your local park, let them run through the sprinkler when it’s dark outside, set up a movie screen in the backyard, get sticky and messy with bubbles and other crafts, and just let loose. Who knows, maybe it will bring out your inner child as well!
Getting some shuteye
For many kids, the transition from the fun and carefree days of summer to the not-so-fun days of school is a difficult one. They need to go to bed and wake up earlier, which may be hard to get used to when it is still so light outside late into the evening. After you have worn out your few final weeks of summer fun, it is best to leave about a week or two for your child or children to get used to their new bedtime routine.
A routine is important when it comes to helping kids settle down in the evenings. Gone are the days of running around in the backyard until 10 p.m. Now your kiddos should be heading to bed early so they can get enough sleep to be alert all day at school. Bath time is a helpful aid to relaxation, and you can add bath bombs, bath salts or essential oils to create an even more relaxing experience. By making it special for them, they can look forward to their new routine. For little ones, bath crayons and even some new bath toys could help them settle down and relax in the tub.
Storytime or (for older kids) reading in bed is another great way to wind down. Additionally, kids can listen to audiobooks, podcasts and even calming music to set the mood and get them ready for sleep. The key is to keep their routine pretty much the same each night, so make lights out happen at the same time each evening. This will help their circadian rhythm to get used to a new bedtime. Blackout shades are a great addition to any child’s bedroom, as it can help their bodies to understand that nighttime is approaching, even as the summer evening sun still shines on.
It’s almost time to say goodbye to summer, so try to squeeze as much sunshine and fun as possible out of your next few weeks of July. When the kids are ready to head back to school, don’t forget to start a bedtime routine early so the transition back to learning is smooth for everyone, parents included.