Oh summer- where did you go?! Summer in our house has flown by and soon the long, leisurely summer days will be replaced by the structure of the upcoming school year. If your family is anything like mine your routines have veered off track over the summer with the seemingly endless opportunities for fun and family time. Making memories becomes more important than bedtimes and schedules- a much needed break. However, it is time to look ahead and prepare our children for the upcoming school year. Whether your child attends pre-school a few hours a day or you have older children heading off to a full day of elementary, middle or high school, being well rested will help ease the transition. Here are some tips to help your family get school ready:
- Start early- begin by easing your child back into his or her normal routine at least a week before school starts so their bodies have time to adjust and alleviate any sleep debt accumulated over the summer months.
- Know how much sleep your child needs according to their age. Here is a link to a good chart:
- Tighten up your schedule- over the summer bedtimes and wake times are a bit looser, now is the time to get back to those early bedtimes and consistent wake times. Weekends are no exception; consistency makes all the difference here. If you have a child who is still napping it is helpful to get them down at the same time each day.
- Get back to your bedtime routine- even in our house our tried and true bedtime routine is often a bit more lax in the summer. All you need is a predictable, soothing 15-minute routine to help your child get to sleep more easily- include things like reading, dimming the lights, a quiet song, and white noise. It is important to turn those screens off one hour before bedtime to get a quality night’s sleep. Getting back to the structure of your routine helps little ones feel confident and secure making any new situations on the horizon easier to handle.
- Check in on your child’s sleep environment- his or her room should be cool, dark, cozy and free from stimulating toys or clutter. The days are still long and the sun comes up early so be sure you have adequately darkened the room to allow for earlier bedtimes.
- Create a set of sleep manners (aka rules) for your family and review them often- these are general guidelines to remind everyone of healthy sleep hygiene. Include things like – everyone sleeps in their own space, everyone is quiet in their beds, everyone goes to bed on time and wakes up on time.
- Practice what you preach! Be a good role model for the kids. As parents, our job is demanding and non-stop; our bodies and brains are working overtime caring for our children, make sure you are getting the sleep you need to be your healthiest. Our little people need us to be at our best and quality sleep is essential to our well-being.