For many, the January long week end signifies the end of the holidays and a return to the daily grind of the school routine. After weeks of lazy days, late nights and sleep-ins, parents quickly realise the summer schedule is not well suited to term time. Sleep is crucial not only for the growth and development of children but also for their ability to learn. These tips will help you get your kids back on track in preparation for the new school year.
- Decide on an age appropriate bedtime and work towards it. Bring bed time forward a few minutes earlier each night until you reach it. Consider your wake up time, remembering that school age children, depending on their age require between 8 and 11 hours sleep.
- Teach your child numbers and how to tell the time. This way they gain independence, recognising their own bedtime and an appropriate time to wake.
- Create a bedtime routine. This can be as simple as bath, teeth, bed and read for 10 minutes. Sticking to a consistent routine means no surprises at bedtime and can help your child to settle more quickly.
- Children of all ages will benefit from some time to unwind before bed. Try to finish any homework or chores early to avoid last minute stress at bedtime.
- Not a morning person? Organise schoolbags and clothes the night before to allow extra precious minutes in bed the next day.
- Keep technology out of the bedroom and limit screen time immediately before bed. The light emitted from screens confuses the body's sleep hormones, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Children learn by example. It is important to promote the importance of sleep and to model that in your own behaviour.