You've done the school shopping, bought new school supplies, and sharpened the pencils but have you prepared your child's sleep routine for the upcoming school year? Sleep plays a role in being alert or drowsy, stressed or relaxed, and that may in turn affect temperament, learning and social behavior. After a summer of late nights and laid-back mornings, your child's sleep routine might need a jump start before heading back to school. Start with some of these tips:
- Start setting an earlier bedtime – About one week before school starts, set the time to go to sleep incrementally early each night. This can be done even if school has started and be effective. Set an alarm or timer to alert kids it’s time to start winding down.
- Maintain sleep schedule – Once sleep schedule is established do the best you can to stick to it. This is much easier with younger kids and more difficult with teens, especially on the weekends!
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine – bath, reading a bedtime story, or reading independently if they are older.
- Screens turned off 60 minutes prior to bedtime. No screens in the bedroom. Set a timer or alarm every night at the same time to alert kids it's time to get ready for bed.
- Maintain a peaceful bedroom environment – A dark room, comfortable bed, and temperature (not too cold or hot) will set the stage for a good nights rest. A white noise machine or fan can also help create a soothing environment for sleep.
- Prepare the night before – Pack lunches, set clothes out, and backpacks the night before so kids are not arising earlier than necessary to get organized.
- Be a role model – Set a good example for your children by getting enough sleep yourself. Kids mimic what we do!
Our kids need adequate sleep to do their best at school and it's more important than ever to maintain a consistent, healthy sleep routine.