Summer- where did you go? In spite of, or maybe because of, Covid, our summer seemed over before it even started. Now we find ourselves trying to adjust to this new normal as we send our kids back to school or daycare, even if only virtually. If your family is anything like mine your routines have veered off track over the past 5 months- still not sure what day it is over here. Children, however, crave routine and structure. It makes them feel safe and secure, which in our world right now is everything. No matter your school or childcare situation getting back to healthy sleep habits can help children cope with the daily changes and stressors they are facing. Here are 6 tips to get back on track:
- 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 the 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 more important than ever to turn those screens off one hour before bedtime to get a quality night’s sleep.
- 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. Additionally, if possible, separate work space from sleep space. Ideally, the bedroom is for sleep only.
- 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.
Best wishes for a healthy 2020-2021 school year!!!!