On Prioritizing Sleep Routines (In The Summer)

The long days of stroller naps and baskets full of things we need and have gathered in a day, are behind us. We have subbed the stroller basket for a large woven tote or bag. The stroller, for scooters or our legs. There are stops on benches, and giggle-filled collapasing bodies on curbs. A summer without a stroller is admittedly bittersweet, though welcomed. City kids, without a doubt stay in strollers longer than most kids. The cement is hot, the subways muggy, and the days are long, plentiful, and at times, complex. We escape home early and return late. And with all of that in mind, strollers have been there to aid us in treasuring those days.

Oak is out of his stroller, but still naps. This is the second summer of adventures without one. And like most things, we will adjust the season to it. Ajusting doesn’t mean we rid ourselves of a good and necessary nap. This may be surprising to many, but we are a family that still prioritizes a nap as a whole. When a nap isn’t possible, there’s always thirty minutes for one’s body to reset–or at worst, time separate from one another to take a beat with one’s bodyspace in private.

Much of this has come from own childhood, when naps afterschool were a priority before doing homework. I’m not sure if it was my need to sleep (I clearly remember getting sleepy in my bones and mind after school) or my mother’s desire to keep a set routine in managing multiple children as a working single mother. No matter the source, from tiny babies to grade-school kids on summer break, a predictable summer sleep routine has always been a priority in my home.

I realized long ago, that making sleep predictable for the kids and for myself, actually, allowed for more freedom in a day. Their language is clear with sleep. Their emotions are more leveled and predictable, too. And when given the oppurtunity, both of my children (mostly Oak) will still easily close their eyes and nap for at least 30 minutes on a weekend.

This summer, we’ll wake early, play, have coffee, turn on music and leave out the door with the sun shining and streets still quiet many days of the week. When indoors calls us, we will find the oppurtunity to play, create and imagine. When outside, we’ll go for the snacks stacked in my bag, and run until we can’t anymore. We’ll return home messy and tired in the early afternoon, and find the peace in our beds (yes, even with the morning dirt. Likely, butt-naked) After naps, there’s fruit and more adventures to shed the day’s wiggles. And when we return home, there are long baths every-single-night with lavender and bubbles, if we’re lucky. There’s books (so many!), sound machines, and back scractches, Moon River, and cuddles. But more than that, there’s sleep and predicatbility, joy and patience.

Do you have a summer sleep routine?

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