Hey, Sleepy Heads!
Some kids can sleep through anything. Parents who are blessed to have such deep sleepers can count on their children to fall asleep easily and sleep through the night like clockwork. But, for other kids, changes in their environment and surroundings can have an impact on how well they sleep each night. For many kids, the biggest adjustment to “sleepaway” camp is embodied in the first part of that word: Sleep. For lots of kids, being away from home means having trouble sleeping.
Whether kids are dealing with anxiety over being away from home, or whether they are overstimulated by their new surroundings and a break from their normal routine back home, sleeping can be a real challenge for some kids at summer camp. One way to remedy this is for them to take time to calm down 30 minutes before getting into bed. They should do their best to avoid any exertion or stimulating activities during this period that might get their adrenaline pumping. It can help to take their time with pre-bedtime activities like brushing their teeth, washing up and getting into their pajamas.
Another factor that can preclude a good night’s sleep at summer camp is not psychological or emotional, but rather, environmental. The barracks where your child will be sleeping may not be as comfortable as their room at home and they will be sharing the space with other people, some of whom may snore or toss and turn. The cabin probably lacks air-conditioning and could be very hot, it could be noisy, and there might be more or less light than they're used to. When kids get into bed, they should try to make themselves comfortable with extra pillows or blankets and maybe even a sleeping pad for extra cushioning. A fan can help them stay cool and will help block out some noise. Also, a sleep mask or a night light may help them feel more at home.
It might help for kids trying to sleep well at summer camp to replicate as much of their pre-bedtime routine from home as they are able to. Doing things in the same order they would at home might help: If they wash their face first, then brush their teeth, then use the bathroom before they put on their pajamas at home, they should try doing those things in exactly the same order at camp. Kids are largely creatures of routine, and while camp is, in many respects, a way to actively break them out of their routines, there is no point in messing with a bedtime ritual that works. A well-rested kid is more likely to have a positive attitude, more energy, and a better sleepaway camp experience than one who is always sleep-deprived.
Enjoy your Zzz’s at summer camp and, as always, thanks for reading!