It’s almost here! Are you ready? Let’s reset because it is time to go back to school! Often summer puts a big bump in our regular routines. Sleep may have taken a huge hit. You might even need a vacation from your summer vacation!
The lazy hazy days of summer actually can be busy and anything but restful. Summer fun brings travel, parties, later bedtimes and skipped naps.
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Now that we are looking at the beginning of a new school year, let’s get started on the right foot! Sleep is vital to school performance as well as overall health. Did you know that your child will actually have a better ability to concentrate as well as remember what they learned if they are well-rested? Good quality sleep not only helps a child learn better, but is essential to building a healthy immune system making it easier to fight off germs that they will be exposed to. Not to mention, if your child does get sick, having a full sleep tank will help them bounce back quicker! Sleep really is everything!!
Now let’s reset!
The first thing to look at is bringing back bed time! Begin by thinking about what time your family will need to get up each morning once school is back in session and adjust the bedtime so that everyone is getting the right amount of sleep.
Going to bed too late will result in rough mornings. You don’t want to start the new school year with a sleepy head trying to navigate through the day!
Routines for both bedtime and morning will help end the day and begin the day on a good note!
Bedtime Routines are such an important component to getting a good night’s sleep and transitioning from a busy day. Bedtime routines will help your child relax and prepare for sleep. Breakdown the hour before bedtime into 20-minute segments. This will help your family to begin to slow down. A wind-down routine is important for kids of all ages, and even adults! Here is an example of the winddown routine:
1st segment-Prepare for the next day
This will make the morning smoother. Here are some suggestions:
Get your child’s backpack ready to go
Pack a lunch
Pick out clothes for the next day
2nd segment: Prepare for bed
This is where your child will take care of their personal needs such as:
Taking a shower
Use the bathroom
Putting on PJ’s.
3rd segment: Prepare to wind down
These activities are done in the bedroom. Here are some suggestions:
Read a favorite book or color
Yoga, meditate, or have some alone time with your child to talk.
A new practice that your child might enjoy , is to tell you what their best part of the day was. What a wonderful way to end the day! This will also be great one-on one-time once school starts and life gets busy.
Mornings are going to be a lot more rushed as everyone will need to get out of the house. Just like we have a bedtime routine, it is important to set up a morning routine to start the day on a positive note! Set up a schedule for the morning so that everyone stays on track. You will want to schedule a set wake up time, time to take care of personal needs, and time for a healthy breakfast. Check out these tips from BrightPath on how to creat a successful morning routine for your family.
Putting the morning routine and the bedtime routine on a poster where everyone can see it will keep your family on track. Routine and structure actually bring comfort to children as they begin a new school year. Change, even exciting change can be stressful. If your child is having anxiety about going back to school, check out these tips here.
Did some of your rules over the summer take a vacation? If so, getting back to the basics a few weeks before school starts will help everyone! If your family started bringing technology into the bedroom, now is the time to assess how that may be affecting sleep.
Having a phone, tablet, computer or gaming systems in the bedroom will be very tempting for your child to “check” if they wake up during the night. A great solution is to bring these items out of the room is to set up a docking station outside of all the bedrooms (helpful for parents sleep as well). It is a great place for everyone to put devices ready to go to charge and be ready to go the next day!
Another rule you may want to add is to limit the use of technology at least an hour before bedtime. This would include TV, computer games, phone and internet usage. These activities make it hard for children (and adults) to calm down and can interfere with sleep. Blue light can stop or delay the natural production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, for up to an hour!
Doing this a few weeks before the first bell of the new school year, will help your family fill up that sleep tank. Talking to your child about the importance of sleep so that they understand why sleep will help them as they enter the new year.
It is hard to catch up on sleep the night before the first day of school. We all need time to adjust and catch up on lost sleep. Setting up the foundation a few weeks for school starts will make the first day of school go so much smoother!