5 Tips to Get Your Child’s Sleep Schedule Back on Track for School
School is fast approaching once again, which means relaxed summer time schedules are coming to an end. Now is a great time to start getting your child back on a regular sleep schedule and routine so that they are ready to start the first day with a smile on their face. If the sleep schedule in your house has become a bit relaxed over the summer months, here are 5 tips to help your child get back on a good sleep schedule and routine for school.
Ensure Your Child is Getting the Recommended Amount of Sleep
We all know how important sleep is for the developing mind of a child. The amount of sleep they get impacts their growth, learning and problem solving skills. A tired child is less able to concentrate or recall important information. Before the start of school, make sure your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep to set them up for success. How much sleep do kids need? The Canadian Paediatrics Society and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that preschoolers and school aged children should be getting about 10-12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.
The Canadian Paediatrics Society and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that preschoolers and school aged children should be getting about 10-12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.
Gradually Move Sleep and Wake Schedules Earlier
Often bedtimes and wake times become later during the summer months, which makes getting up early on that first day of school really difficult. To help your child get used to waking earlier again, gradually adjust their bedtime and wake time about 2 weeks before the start of school. This allows their internal clock to adjust without too many side effects, and ensures they have enough time for a good breakfast before school!
Remove Electronics from the Bedroom
Help your child get back into their sleep schedule and routine by removing all electronics from the bedroom. Research shows that the blue light emitted from electronics, such as TVs, computers, tablets, or smart phones, suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the body’s natural sleep inducing hormone. Its important to turn these devices off at least 1-2 hours before bed so that their bodies can wind down and get ready for sleep.
Limit your child’s caffeine intake after lunch to ensure they fall asleep at their regular bedtime. It’s always a good idea to limit sugar too.
Limit Caffeine and Sugary Treats
Parents often allow more junk food during the summer months, which often has a lot of caffeine in it. Your children may not have a coffee habit, but there is enough caffeine in pop and chocolate to keep your child awake past their bedtime. Limit your child’s caffeine intake after lunch to ensure they fall asleep at their regular bedtime. It’s always a good idea to limit sugar too.
Dim the lights in the home about an hour before bed, and use some room darkening blinds to keep the evening light out.
Get Back into a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
With the start of the school year just around the corner, it’s a great time to re-evaluate your bedtime routines and get back into the habit of a wind-down ritual before bed. Your child’s routine can include a few or many steps to help them relax. Dim the lights in the home about an hour before bed, and use some room darkening blinds to keep the evening light out.
Get enough sleep
Gradually re-acclimate to normal sleep hours
Limit caffeine and screen time before bed
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Jenn Kelner is a mother of three children, including twins, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. Just as every family is unique, Jenn supports many different sleep methods and works directly with families to design a solution that will help them become well-rested, happy families.