“Mom, I'm hot!”
After a long, hot day, it can be difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep, especially for kiddos who are heat-sensitive or restless sleepers.
And this is important, as a good night of sleep – including staying asleep and allowing the body to go through all the various phases of sleep – is essential for good moods and healthy growth. But if your kids are like mine, getting to sleep when it's hot outside can involve much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth if we haven't prepared properly for it.
Thus, here are seven tips for helping your kids get to sleep when it's hot outside. (May you all rest in peace… er, I mean…. may you all sleep well. 🙂 )
Cover any windows during the day that let light into your child's room (or the whole house). Sunlight will heat up the house quickly like it's a solar oven, so blocking out the light will help keep things as cool as possible.
Give your kids a cool bath before bed. Removing the grime and stickiness of the day, especially if it's been a day of hard play outside, will help regulate temperature and just feels SO GOOD before bedtime on a hot day. My five-year-old son especially benefits from this part of the hot-night routine.
Wear loose, lightweight pajamas and use just a sheet as covers on the bed. The point here is to allow airflow to the skin to regulate temperature, but also keep a chill off as the body sweats and becomes clammy through the night. T-shirts can be a great option too.
If the temperature outside dips below the temperature inside, open the windows at night, assuming it's safe to do so and they've got screens to keep out all those lovely summertime insects.
A great addition to this is to use fans to help move the air. Whether that's a box fan in the open window (like my parents did every night during summer while I was growing up) or an oscillating fan that blows directly on the child, fans help cool everyone off and lower the temperature of the room so that the house is as cool as possible the next morning when the house gets closed up again as the temperature outside begins to rise.
If the temperature refuses to drop and your child continues to feel hot and uncomfortable, offer cool wet washcloths to lay on their forehead or small spritz bottles to spray their bodies and faces whenever they feel hot. The caveat here is if there are multiple siblings in one room and this has the potential to turn into a sprayfest and wind everyone up (rather than calm them down), skip the spray bottles.
Another trick if the temperature doesn't cool off is to slip one ice pack wrapped in a towel beside the child's core so they can cuddle it, lay on it, or do whatever is comfortable to them. One safety note, however – be very sure there are no leaks in the ice pack before you offer it, as you don't want your child accidentally inhaling the liquid, getting the liquid in their mouth, or otherwise rolling around in the liquid if the pack was to leak or break. One successful way we've done this is with one of those rubber hot water bottles that we fill, freeze, then offer at night. (Read the small print on the specific product you use, as some materials may not be suitable for freezing – you want to be safe, after all!)
And most of all, help your child be calm, which allows the body to relax into sleep. Whether that's rubbing their back, using calming essential oils in a diffuser, or playing soothing music, helping your child be calm will allow them to slip into sleep as soon as they're comfortable.
And of course, if none of the above work and you've got a backyard, sleep outside. Backyard camping can be a great option when the house won't cool off. And it's a great adventure to boot. (If you need natural mosquito protection, just use one of our homemade bug sprays.)
Have a great night, everyone!
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