Summer’s over and kids are back in school which means many a parent is fighting a nightly battle to get their kids back on track in terms of bedtime. It can be difficult to shift a child’s sleep schedule overnight, but if you find yourself in this position, here are 4 tips to help get your kids back to bed and back to bedtime for back to school.
1. Redo Their Room
Sleep environment plays a big role in how easy it is for us to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get the sleep we need. Take a look at your child’s bedroom through the eyes of a sleep scientist. Does it promote calm and relaxation? Is it too hot, too cold, or too bright? Do they have a comfortable bed or are they sleeping on the lumpy mattress you inherited from your mother? Children, like adults, need a cool, comfortable, quiet, and dark place to sleep. If their room is lacking in any of these areas, do a little redesign, and make it easier for them to stick to a sleep schedule.
2. Redesign Their Routine
Look at what they are doing in the hours leading up to bedtime for hidden sleep thieves like electronics use, high levels of activity, or late snacking. Over the summer, kids may have gotten into the habit of watching TV rather than reading a book to fall asleep. They may be used to eating dinner later, playing outside later, or doing family things together, later. All of these can interfere with re-establishing a solid sleep routine that enables them to get the sleep they need for school. Redesign their evening routine so that computers, cell phones, televisions, and video games are not part of the few hours leading up to bedtime. Eating late can also make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, so adjusting dinner time to be earlier can also help get kids back on track.
3. Review Their Diet
If children are loading up on caffeine, carbs, sugary snacks, soft drinks, or even healthy snacks in the hours leading up to bedtime may be stealing their sleep. Take a good look at what they are eating and make any modifications to their later in the day diet to promote a good night sleep.
4. Reinforce Good Sleep Hygiene
One of the best ways to help your kids get back on track is to set a good example and reinforce good sleep hygiene habits with all members of the family, including yourself. It can be hard when younger siblings have to go to bed earlier than older children, but showing that each member of the family has a bedtime that they follow every night can make that easier. Consistency is the key when it comes to making sure that everyone in the family gets the sleep they need, so setting and sticking to a sleep schedule is something everyone in your family will benefit from.