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Back to school sleep tips.. already?! Summer, it comes and goes so quickly. Very soon those long summer days of sun shining well into the evening hours will be replaced by those dark afternoons. We have all fallen victim to loosening up our children’s regimented schedule over the summer and replacing it with extended outdoor play and later bedtimes.
Whether your child is going back to school, starting preschool or daycare, it is time to tighten up that schedule again and prepare your child so that they are set up for optimal learning and success.
We rush to get the new sneakers, back packs, and lunch boxes and we easily lose sight of what needs to be priority and that’s sleep.
So here are 5 Key sleep tips to getting your child ready:
- Black out blinds. If you don’t have them in your child’s room already then put those on your shopping list! The sun is still bright at bedtime and we really want to create that optimal sleep environment. As you start your bedtime routine, try to keep the areas you are using like the bathroom and surrounding bedrooms fairly darkened. Close the doors or blinds in other rooms, turn down the shades during bath time and have their room dark before they get into bed.
- Bedtime routine. If you had a great bedtime routine before then it’s time to bring it back. If you never really had one then a great sleep tip is to hold a family meeting to discuss the importance of sleep and to establish a bedtime routine. You can make this a family project and write out your bedtime routine on a board and allow your child to be part of this process.
- Avoid any television, computers or any electronic devices at least two hours before bedtime. Studies have shown that the blue light the emits from these devices actually inhibit the release of melatonin. Reading is a great alternative
- Earlier bedtime! This is a biggie folks! In my work helping families to get their children to become independent healthy sleepers, the biggest culprit in babies and children not sleeping through the night is a bedtime that is too late. Bedtime will vary depending on the age of your child and their daytime sleep (if they are still napping). An age appropriate bedtime can be anywhere from 5pm – 7:30pm.If your child has been going to bed much later than what they do during the school year, you can either bring that bedtime earlier in one jump or gradually in increments over the next two weeks.
- Consistency is key. Once you have started your “back to school” regiment , it is imperative that you stick with it . It is always important to say what you mean and mean what you say. Lead by example and put your sleep as a priority as well.
I would recommend that parents implement the 5 key tips listed above, a good week prior to school starting. This will allow for a nice smooth transition, allow your child to fill up their “sleep tanks” and be ready for that first day of school.