Tag Archives: healthy sleep patterns for kids

Back to School Series: Getting Sleep Schedules Back on Track

Summer is a time when most families can dodge the clock and enjoy countless  hours of carefree fun. There are no more “school nights” , no more early  mornings trying to rouse children from their beds, and minimal bedtime battles  during the carefree summer months. As August is settling in, back to school time  is around the corner and children’s haphazard sleep schedules of summer are  coming to an end. Many parents struggle with helping their children make the  switch from the lazy days of summer to the more scheduled, routine days of the  school year. By beginning the process of making such a switch before the school  year begins, parents can help children’s internal clocks be ready when that  first school bell sounds.

 

 

  • Schedule the day. Get children in the mindset of school by  establishing a routine into their final summer days. Set specific times for  waking-up, eating, and going to bed. Summer fun does not have to end quite yet,  however help children prepare for the upcoming school year  routine by establishing a schedule into that  summer fun.

 

  • Have a wind-down activity in the evening. No child is going  to be able to easily transition from riding bikes around the neighborhood with  friends and then going in straight for baths and bedtime. Limit vigorous  activity about an hour before starting a bedtime routine. Instead, encourage  children to participate in quieter activities before bedtime. Such activities  could include playing board games together as a family, working on an art  project, or attempting to finish a puzzle. Quieter activities allow  the body to naturally begin to prepare itself for sleep.

 

  • Create a peaceful environment. As bedtime approaches for  children, alter the environment of the home. Switch on some soft-light lamps and  turn off the overhead lights. Reduce the noise level by turning televisions off  and putting on some quiet music. This shift in environment allows the body to  know that rest is coming. Also consider the environment of the child’s bedroom.  If the last rays of sunlight are shining through windows, cover them with an  extra sheet or blanket (this will not be a problem once Daylight Savings  Time arrives in the Fall). If little ones are a bit scared of their rooms,  send them to bed with a special animal or blanket. Also consider have a soft  noise machine or quiet music playing in the child’s room to muffle noises from  other parts of the house.

 

  • Establish a bedtime routine. Many families choose for  children to bath or shower in the evening. Decide what things need to be  accomplished before children can go to sleep and create a bedtime routine. A  younger child’s bedtime routine might include picking up toys, taking a bath,  putting on some pajamas, reading a book or two with Mom and Dad, and then  crawling into bed to go to sleep. An older child’s routine might include  showering, reading or listening to music, and then heading to bed. Limit screen  time in front of the television before bed as it can actually hype  children up rather than making them sleepy.

 

  • Be consistent. Once a bedtime has been decided upon and a  routine created, stick with it.  Teach children the importance of sleep and the benefits gained from getting a  good night’s rest.  Doing so will allow parents to crawl into their  own bed at night knowing their children will be bright-eyed for that  upcoming first day of school.

 

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