It’s that time of year once again! Back to School!
Can you believe that summer is already winding down here in Chicago and that we are headed into fall? Some of your little ones may have returned to school already and others are gearing up to get back into the swing of things.
If you were not following my Summertime Sleep Tips these past few months, you are not alone. It seems that as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, bedtime gets later and later. It can feel almost impossible to ensure your kids are getting the sleep they need when the sun is shining until late into the evening and rising again, bright and early!
You know just how important it is for your children to get enough sleep during the school year, both for your sanity and their ability to learn. Healthy sleep habits for school aged children have many benefits including:
- Increased ability to cope with stress
Improved memory and concentration
Lessened risk of anxiety and depression
Improved motivation and problem solving abilities
Better relationships with others with peers, teachers and at home
If you’re worried about how you can get you children back on a healthy sleep schedule so they can shine like their brilliant selves when they get to class, I have a few tips for you!
Choose an appropriate bedtime.
I generally recommend that school aged children go to bed around 7:00 - 8:00 pm. The best bedtime for your child will depend on their age and how early they need to be up to prepare for school each day. If you find that your child is struggling to start their day, you probably need to shift bedtime up a little bit more. Try using the method below for shifting bedtime earlier slowly to find the right time for you child to go to bed. You might even be able to skip the alarm clock if your kids are getting enough sleep!
Shift bedtime back slowly.
Most school aged children need 9-12 hours of sleep, which can be tricky if you have busy morning, long commutes, or require childcare in the morning. This means an earlier bedtime. Instead of waiting until the night before the first day of school to change things up, start shifting bedtime back by 15 minutes, every few days. Slowly transitioning to an earlier bedtime will allow their bodies and minds some time to adjust to the schedule change.
Have a bedtime routine.
Humans of all ages benefit from adhering to a bedtime routine. Each step signals to the body that it’s time to wind down and prepare to sleep. You can even create a chart to make it more fun for younger children. Give them a gold star for cleaning up their toys, after tidying up from bedtime snack, taking a bath, and once they gotten their PJ’s on.
Create a sleep space that is restful.
As children grow they also acquire a lot of “stuff”. Do your best to keep their bedroom a place for sleep by minimizing distracting decor and toys. Muted colors and room darkening drapery help to complete a restful sleep space for your child.
We know that the quality and quantity of sleep children are getting has a profound impact on how they learn and retain information, interact with others, and cope with day to day life. Creating healthy sleep habits will not only ensure your home is peaceful at bedtime and in the morning but will also set your child up for lifelong learning (and life) success.
Should you desire personalized sleep advice and coaching, don’t hesitate to reach out. I can help you work through your children’s individual challenges, improving sleep for your whole family.