It’s that time of year again, when children everywhere will be heading back to class to learn their A,B,Cs and 1,2,3s. If you have a preschooler or school aged child, this can be an exciting month, but also can be a time of big adjustment for their bodies. If you don’t want to be dragging them out of bed and dealing with grumpy children every day, here are five tips to help ease your child back into a healthy sleep routine.
1. Start Early
Most people don’t like change and your child is no different. Instead of forcing them into a brand new routine on the first day of school, it’s a good idea to begin making small changes 1-2 weeks before your child returns to class.
2. Implement a Daily Routine
Summertime usually means our children have less structure during the day, but as we approach the Fall, it will help everyone get back into the swing of things by implementing a more formal daytime routine. This not only includes a consistent wake up time, but having regular meal times and designated play times each day will be beneficial as well. By bringing some structure back into your child’s day, you help gear their bodies towards a more set routine. In addition, this also allows children practice with how to transition between different activities quickly and efficiently.
3. Gradually Move Bedtime Earlier
You know the saying “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise”? Well, it’s hard to buy into that philosophy as a kid if you’re used to 9pm bedtimes and then the next day your bedtime is 7:00pm. Your child will have less resistance to bedtime, if you gradually move it earlier by 15 minutes every few nights. Shifting in increments allows the body’s natural body clock to readjust gradually as well, making for a seamless transition.
4. Institute a Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime routine practiced each night before sleep helps to cue the body that it’s time to rest. This routine is beneficial for both parent and child as it creates a calming transition from the day’s activities to bedtime. This evening routine can include any soothing activities such as a bath, saying prayers, singing quiet songs, cuddling and discussing the day and/or reading books.
5. Create a Soothing Sleep Environment
To help ensure the most restorative sleep possible, your child’s room needs to be conducive for a good night’s sleep. Children, like adults, sleep best in a cool, dark room and in a comfortable bed. All electronic devices should be hidden from sight or placed in another area of the house as to not provide distraction or temptation to stay up past bedtime.
By making these small changes well in advance of the first day of class, your little one will be happy, healthy and well-rested come September, enthusiastic to go to school and ready to learn.
Guest Blog by Joleen Dilk Salyn of Baby Sleep 101
Joleen is an independent certified Baby and Child Sleep Consultant, and founder of Baby Sleep 101. She received her extensive training from the Family Sleep Institute. She is also a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants. Joleen is a mother of two wonderful children; ages 2 yrs and 9 months. Visit http://www.babysleep101.com/ for more information.
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