Mindful Monday challenge: get our summer sleep schedules on track

So, how many of you set an intention for last week’s Mindful Monday? How did it go? I’m happy to report that my plan to relax and have fun went swimmingly (literally! There were several pool excursions involved.) But maybe we got a little too relaxed, which brings me to my personal challenge for this week’s Mindful Monday:

Who: Everybody, including the dog

What: Get our sleep back on a reasonable schedule

Why: During the first week of summer break, our sleep habits, almost without fail, fall apart spectacularly. I think it’s partly due to a little rebellious streak of mine that mentally resists the sleep schedule we’re forced to adopt during the school year. Once the school year is over, we “celebrate” by staying up late…too late…and then sleeping in…too far in. This creates a vicious cycle: Clara’s nap gets delayed (she’s not exactly tired at noon when she didn’t get up until 10), which means she has a harder time falling asleep at night; the boys are no longer tired at 8 or 9 or even, sometimes, 10. Once I finally wrestle them down, I look forward to a few minutes alone with my Kindle, but by that point I’ve hit my second wind and tend to lay in bed reading for hours. You get the picture: our sleep schedule is totally messed up over here and I have to get it back on track!

How:

  • Start the day off right. It’s not always easy to get up ahead of everyone else, but it always helps me feel so much more in control and so much less cranky than when I’m wakened by a child standing by my bed demanding cereal. Plus, now that my kids are all home all day, my writing time is limited and the early-morning hours are sometimes my only opportunity to get quiet time to work. Getting up considerably ahead of everyone else also helps me feel grounded and energized so that when the kids do wake up, I’m ready to greet them and start the family’s day rather than groaning and pulling the covers over my head.
  • Start winding down early. Summer evenings are pretty laid-back and fun around our house. The kids are running in and out of the house, we’re grilling out and working in the yard or I’m listening to music and doing the dishes. It’s light out until well after 9 PM and sometimes I literally forget how late it’s getting until I’ve blown it. This week I’m setting my phone alarm to remind me it’s time to start the wind-down, and I’m giving us plenty of time to go from revved up to relaxed and ready for bed.
  • Don’t forget the bedtime routine. You’d think I’d know better by now, but every time I relax the bedtime routine even for a few days, the kids think that‘s the new norm and I have to start all over again. For example, because we let them “camp out” in the living room for a few nights, they now seem to regard it as their new bedroom. So unless it’s a special occasion (like a sleepover, Friday family movie night, or actual camping trip) we’re going back to a slightly more relaxed version of the school-year routine: evening bath, small snack, tooth-brushing, tuck-in, and everyone in their own beds, already.

Are you struggling with summer-break sleep schedule breakdown? Any other Mindful Monday intentions you’d like to share?

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