How to Manage a Healthy Child’s Sleep During Summer Vacation

With summer vacation around the corner, it is important to think about one thing kids love about summertime – sleeping in! Maintaining a consistent sleep routine in the summer can be difficult. After a whole school year of early alarms and rushing out the door, it is tempting to stay up late at night and wake up later in the morning. But, children need adequate sleep regardless of the time of year!

Even though it’s summer, when possible, children should go to sleep at approximately the same time and wake up at approximately the same time every day.

  • Enforce a consistent sleep schedule that allows for a sufficient amount of sleep. This may mean your child has to go to bed when the sun is still up. If your child is having difficulty falling asleep in summer because there is sunlight so late into the evening, consider investing in blackout curtains or shades for his or her bedroom to create a restful space. For young children, remind them that bedtime is approaching even though it may still be light out.
  • Create a restful sleeping environment. Make sure your child has a cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable sleep environment. Put away electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and remove all electronics from the bedroom.

Lights can go out at different times for different children in the family depending on how much sleep they need.

  • For adolescents and teens, the summer sleep schedule may be less regimented than for younger children. Allowing your teen to sleep in is okay but within reason. While this extra sleep can be beneficial, it may also result in a shifted or delayed schedule with teens going to bed later than usual and sleeping later than usual.  This can be problematic when school starts and your teen has to go to bed early and rise early. Try to keep weekend wake-ups within an hour or so of their usual time.
  • If your child is going to bed later but still getting up early in the morning, then your child may be getting less sleep. As during the school year, this can interfere with all aspects of a child’s functioning, including growth, development, mood, and performance.

When the summer is nearing its end, start to plan ahead for the return of those early morning alarms by adjusting your child’s wake-up time gradually. Two to three weeks before school starts, begin shifting your child’s sleep schedule by setting a bedtime and wake time that allows for enough sleep, and then move the bedtime and wake time 15 minutes earlier every few nights until the desired sleep schedule is reached.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2017). Healthy sleep habits: How many hours does your child need? Retrieved from

Beebe, D. W. (2011). Cognitive, behavioral, and functional consequences of inadequate sleep in children and adolescents. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 58(3), 649–665.

Paruthi S., Brooks L. J., D’Ambrosio C., Hall, W. A., Kotagall, S., Lloyd, R. M. … Wise, M. S.  (2016). Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: A consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 12(6), 785-786.

Related 5210 Resources:
5210 and Healthy Sleep

5210 DoDEA Artist Spotlight Winners Announced

In April, we celebrated The Month of the Military Child! The Month of the Military Child is a time to recognize and honor military families and their children for the sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.

Children of military families make sacrifices and face unique challenges. For example, as they grow up, military children often move to new states or countries many times as their parent(s) transfer(s) to new assignments. Military children move an average of 10 times while growing up! Because of these frequent moves, they have to adjust to
starting new schools and making new friends. Also, children of military families often have a parent deployed and may not get to see that parent for long periods of time.

Former Defense Secretary, Casper W. Weinberger, started the Month of the Military Child in 1986. He wanted to recognize the sacrifice that military children make by having one or both parents in the military. The Month of the Military Child is sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy and supported by many other organizations.

We celebrated The Month of the Military Child by partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to host an Artist Spotlight competition for DoDEA students based on the 5210 Healthy Military Children campaign. The winners are Hailey and Tiara!

Yes, it’s time to get ready for back to school!

As the school year winds down and summer approaches, school personnel also need to think about the start of the next school year.

Promoting the 5210 message through back to school materials is a great way to encourage healthy behaviors among school-age children. Materials to consider purchasing for back to school can include pencils, magnets, tote bags, water bottles, and bracelet bands.

Grab the 5210 logos here and get ready for back to school!

MacDill Air Force Base spreads the 5210 message!

Healthy Military Children is going strong at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) thanks to the Healthcare to Health (H2H) Certified Health Education Specialists and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist on site.

Each month, the MacDill AFB Chapel hosts a family dinner and bingo night. H2H is there to provide information to parents and facilitate a 30-minute interactive 5210-based educational experience for the kids.

Activities have included the following:
• taste testing fruit infused waters
• using food models to build a healthy plate, and
• using a life-size game board where kids complete the activity listed on the space they land on (e.g.,10 pushups).

Kids love ‘spinning the wheel’ and answering questions about their own physical activity, screen time, and consumption of fruits and vegetables and sugary beverages.

Each month between 35 and 70 family members enjoy a meal, fellowship, and five spirited games of bingo, and they receive reinforcement of key healthy lifestyle behaviors.

MacDill AFB has also offers a run club and recently have initiated cooking classes for the entire family. They are also promoting the Great Outdoor Challenge for children to participate in during the summer months.

Buying 5210 Fruits and Vegetables on a Budget

Grocery shopping can be challenging when you are on a tight budget, especially when you are trying to purchase enough fruits and vegetables to get the recommended five servings each day for each member of your family. However, there are ways that you can get five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and stay within your budget. Here are a few tips that may help:

Before you shop do the following:

  • Plan your menu for the week before you go shopping. Try to include meals that you can make in large batches and use for lunches or for another dinner later in the week, such as soups, casseroles, and stir-fries.
  • Make a list of the food you need to buy. Making a list will help keep you from buying items you do not need.
  • Join the store loyalty program. Many stores have loyalty cards. When you use these cards, you can buy items at a lower price. You may also get special offers and coupons that non-members do not get.
  • Cut coupons to save money. Remember that coupons only help if they are for items you usually buy. Remember another brand can still cost less even after you use a coupon.
  • Eat before you shop. Grocery shopping when you are hungry makes it more likely you will buy items you do not need and often leads to making unhealthy food choices.

At the store:

  • Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Fruits and vegetables cost less when they are in season. Some fruits and vegetables cost less year-round, such as bananas, apples, oranges, cabbage, sweet potatoes, dark-green leafy vegetables, green peppers, and carrots. You can find a list of what’s in season here
  • When you buy fresh produce, purchase in their whole form. Pre-cut and pre-washed produce is convenient but often costs much more.
  • Purchase frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen food is convenient, nutritious, and economical. Purchase multiple bags of frozen fruits and vegetables when they go on sale. You can also freeze fresh fruits and vegetables, when they are in season, to use later. Choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.
  • Buy canned fruits and vegetables. Canned fruits and vegetables usually cost less than fresh, and they are just as nutritious. Purchase fruits canned in water or in their own juice instead of canned in light or heavy syrup. Look for fruit canned in “100% fruit juice.” For vegetables, purchase low-sodium varieties. Look for “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on the label. You can also rinse canned vegetables to remove some of the sodium.
  • Stock up on fruits and veggies that are on sale. When there are specials on fruits and vegetables, try to stock up if they are frozen or canned. If there is a special on fresh produce, try using it in several meals that week. For example, if broccoli is on sale, use it fresh in salads for lunch and in casseroles or a frittata for dinner.
  • Try buying store brands. Most stores offer their own brand of products that often cost less than name brands.

Use leftovers:

  • If you have leftover fruits and vegetables that are about to go bad, try using them so you don’t waste money. Most fruits and many greens, such as spinach and kale, can be used in smoothies. Fruits can be used on cereal, oatmeal, and ice cream. Many vegetables can be added to soups and casseroles. Or, display the fruits and vegetables you have on a plate with your families’ favorite dips as a snack!


Additional Resources:
Buying Fruits and Vegetables on a Budget:

Fruits and Vegetables on a Budget:

10 Tips: Smart Shopping for Veggies and Fruits:

Are Canned Fruits and Veggies as Healthy as Fresh:

Create a Grocery Game Plan: