If you’re like me, you need Monday and Tuesday to recover, clean, shop and put away All The Things after your holiday of fun & fireworks. You or your children may also feel very tired for days or weeks after summer celebrations like this one, and that’s normal. Here’s why and what you can do about it.
The challenge with the 4th of July is that most kiddos are staying up Wayyyy past bedtime to watch fireworks after it gets dark at 9:30 or 10pm. Additionally, fast movement, bright lights and giant explosions are really alerting for the nervous system. So even when you go inside to do the bedtime routine with overtired kiddos, it maybe hard for them to calm their bodies and their minds. If your kids are used to going to sleep between 7 or 8pm (a time I recommend for all primary aged kids) and stay up until 10pm for the fireworks festivities then they are missing a sizable chunk of much-needed sleep on the fourth.
Why wont they just sleep in?
Remember, most children have a strong morning alert that occurs every morning on cue at a specific time, so they are not able to “sleep in” like many overtired adults can. My 6-year old did sleep past her normal wake time by about 45 minutes, but my 4 year old was up even EARLIER than usual. Ugh. Anyone else have that happen?
You CAN help them catch up on sleep quickly!
Start your bedtime routine a full hour earlier than you usually do in the 2-3 nights following a late night out or a skipped nap. If your child typically naps during the day, then it’s okay to start your nap routine a half an hour early. Pay attention to tired signs, they may seem really tired one minute, and then they may seem like an over-tired goofball the next. Either way your normal routine should help them calm down into sleep.
If your child normally doesn’t nap during the day, I don’t advise letting them take a long nap, it will mean they get to bed even later, perpetuating the late bedtime cycle (This is a thing folks – in fact, adults are the worst!) If they fall asleep in the car or on the couch for 20 minutes, it’s probably fine to get them to bed at their normal time.
In the meantime, keep the food, water and connection coming. Be patient and lower your expectations for their helpfulness and cooperation. Exhaustion is exacerbated by hunger, so make sure snacks and fluids happen regularly. Everyone may be base-level functioning for a few days until they feel rested once again and that’s okay.
If you or your little one is still struggling to get their 12 hours of needed sleep after a few days of early bedtimes and you’re not sure how to get back on track, please reach out via email or schedule your free call.