The summer months are coming to a close, the kids are back to school, and it’s time for more structured routines to kick in. One that your kids might be struggling with in particular? A sleep schedule. With all the summer activities, sleepovers, and getaways, their sleep schedules are probably all out of whack. They’re used to the late nights, rising when they please, and not sticking to any true schedule. This has probably made school mornings tough for them, and you.
Making sure that your children are getting enough sleep, especially during the school year, is crucial. It affects their attention, concentration, memory, problem-solving, and decision making skills in the classroom. Being well-rested is not only important for their academic success, but can also affect their health. Studies have shown the sleep deprivation can lead to greater risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
So now that you understand just how important sleep is for your child, how can you help them develop a routine to ensure they are getting the proper amount of sleep?
Consistency is key
Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, without any changes, is key. Even on the weekends, try to stick to the same schedule. This will help kids’ internal body clock to regulate, making it a little easier for them to go to sleep and wake up naturally without feeling forced.
Soothing Bedtime Routine
Establish a quiet time before bedtime to give them a chance to wind down and relax. Encourage them to read a book if they are old enough, or read them a bedtime story. Listening to calm music and taking a warm bath could also work for some children.
Limit Screen Time
Aim to shut the TB and other electronics an hour before bedtime, and keep mobile devices outside of their room. Studies have shown that the light from the screens can trick our bodies into thinking it’s still daytime, making it even more difficult to fall asleep. Replace screen time with some other calming activity.
Calm Sleep Environment
Provide your child with an environment that is conducive to sleep is crucial. Make sure they have a comfortable mattress that best suits them. Keep the room dark with shades or blackout curtains, and set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Most children sleep better in a quiet room, but soft calming music can help some children fall asleep.
Avoid caffeine and big meals
Soda and other caffeinated beverages can keep your children up to all hours of the night. Try to nix these types of beverages at least six hours before bedtime. Big meals with oversized portions or spicy foods may also cause discomfort or indigestion, making it hard for kids to fall asleep.
Exercise after school
Making sure your children get in a sufficient amount of physical activity after sitting around at school all day can help tire them out before bedtime. However, make sure they are not exercising too close to bedtime, as this can actually keep them up for longer.
Use these guidelines and tailor it to your child’s specific needs to help establish a successful sleeping schedule!