It’s that time of year again! Children are heading back to school (why does Summer come and go so quickly?) and starting a new routine. With the fun of summer and late nights playing outdoors coming to an end, it’s imperative to get your child back into a healthy bedtime routine so that he or she is refreshed and alert for each new day of learning and growth!
Here are some healthy sleep habits to incorporate:
· Two to three weeks before the school year begins, start returning to a “school appropriate” sleep schedule. Set an earlier bedtime and an earlier morning wakeup time to get your child back into the school routine. Your child will still be getting plenty of sleep even if they wake up earlier because of the earlier bedtime. Make sure to adjust the sleep times according to the age of your child to make sure he or she gets enough sleep.
· Stick with the sleep schedule – even on the weekends! Children thrive on routine and good sleep is essential for children.
· Minimize or fully take away any electronic use thirty minutes to an hour before bedtime. This includes computers, television, cell phones, tablets, etc.
· Don’t have your child eat a large meal before bedtime. Eating a heavy meal right before bed can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep well.
· Make sure your child avoids caffeine - In general and especially at bedtime. Many sodas contain caffeine so it’s best to have your child avoid these drinks up to six hours before bed. Even better, it’s best for your child to avoid any type of artificially sugary and/or caffeinated drinks.
· Create a relaxing and calming bedtime routine. The routine can include a warm bath, imaginative story time, reading a book or multiple books, a gentle massage, just to name a few.
· Create a peaceful bedroom environment, a safe haven for your child, at bedtime. Low lighting, no electronic devices in the bedroom, quiet and calm, a comfortable and clean bed, and a comfortable temperature in the room that isn’t too hot or too cold. All of these factors help your child fall asleep better and sleep well through the night.
· Show your child through your actions. Create a healthy sleep pattern for yourself as well and promote healthy sleep for all in your home. Doing so will allow all family members to thrive and be their best each day.
We hope all these sleep tips help! Now… sweet dreams!