With days getting shorter and the weather on the verge of change, the realization may be setting in that school’s right around the corner. And if this is on your radar, you’re probably also realizing that the lax summer schedule, with late nights and late mornings, will not be conducive when schools in session.
Do yourself a favor: along with preparing the backpack, picking out an outfit for the first day of school and gathering school supplies, add “get sleep back on track” to your Back to School To-Do List.
To ease the shock of that first week of “school-day” wake ups, here are some tips to getting your child’s sleep back on track.
1) Get them on a good routine at least two weeks prior:
It takes at least a couple of weeks for our body’s internal clock to adjust to time and schedule changes. Starting them on a good routine at least two weeks prior to the start of school will allow your child’s circadian rhythm to readjust.
This will help minimize some of those bedtime struggles, as well as some of that morning chaos. (The recommended nighttime sleep for a child is at least 10 hours up until the age of 10! Children under 5 should be getting closer to 12 hours a night.)
2) Stay consistent:
Once you set their schedule, stick to it! – even on the weekends. Children thrive with consistency, boundaries and routine. However, they also need consistent, quality sleep. We recommended not to divert too much from their typical schedule – this means aiming for no more than a half hour later on weekends.
3) Establish a good bedtime routine:
We all have our own bedtime routine, whether we realize it or not. It may include getting into your pajamas, brushing your teeth, reading a book in bed… These steps act as cues and allow us to transition into the next part of the day – sleep.
Our children need this time for transition too. Encourage some quiet, relaxing time before bed to help them unwind and get ready for sleep. This could include bath time, getting into pajamas, story time, etc.
4) Limit screens before bed and switch to genuine connection:
Blue screens, like TVs, computers and tablets block the release of melatonin, which is a hormone our bodies use to signal that it’s time for sleep. Limiting screen time an hour before bed will help make sure that melatonin release is not compromised and will help with falling asleep.
This last one is going to be TOUGH if your kiddo is having to start the school year virtually. Some schools are even scheduling K-2 for 5-6 hours of school via Zoom a day, which is crazy. This will absolutely affect your child’s sleep if that screen time occurs too close to bed. To avoid this, make sure to power down all screens before dinner time, including tablets, TVs, phones, and computers.
Switch gears, and instead try these ideas instead:
1. playing a board game
2. dress up
3. reading hour
4. go “bug hunting” with a mason jar
5. walk around the block
6. lay outside and look up at the clouds
7. paint, sensory play, or other arts and crafts
8. simply talk to your child, and ask how their day was
Your kiddos will be craving some genuine connection this year, especially if they aren’t getting a chance to see friends like normal. No matter what your personal view is on COVID and school reopening is, make sure to always keep a positive outlook on current circumstances in front of your kiddos. They need you to help them feel safe, and like they are connecting with the most important person in their lives.
Heading back to school is often a very BUSY time of the year. For some families, it’s the end of a season full of traveling, playing at the beach, and soaking up the sun.
I know there are other families out there that are thinking, ‘Heck yeah! I can’t wait for school to start! I’ve spent 189 days straight with my child and they are driving me NUTS!’ (No judgment if that’s you!)
Around here, the schools structure their calendar around the tourist season, which means that the school year doesn’t start back up until after Labor Day in September. So for us anyway, we’ve got just over two more weeks of sunshine and bliss, before we head back to reality.
As we prepare to head back to school, we are slowly re-adjusting our routine at home so it’s not a big shock for our children when she returns to daycare. By making these changes slowly, we aim to reduce the tears and totally avoid them being sleep deprived and cranky altogether.
Even on a good day, and without even consider COVID, it’s chaotic to get back into a good routine. Getting on a good sleep schedule prior to school- whatever that looks like this year- will help avoid some of the added stress.
Need help getting your child on a good schedule? If you think your child isn’t getting the sleep they need, this is a perfect time to get some support.
Contact us to set up a free Discovery Call – we’d love to help your child get a good sleep-foundation in place before school starts.
Just click on the link: https://beewisesleepconsulting.com/contact-us/discovery-call/