Congratulations, your family made it through the first week of school! Parents know that it takes organization and planning to be ready for back to school. Why not build on that preparation so that your family stays happy, healthy and well rested for the entire Fall season? We’re sharing a few key areas that will help your child maintain healthy sleep habits as we move through Fall and into the Winter months.
Encourage Positive Sleep Habits:
Create the right environment.
Even though there may still be sunny afternoons, the temperature has started to drop at night and it will only continue to get colder. Your child may find themselves waking up more frequently at night if they’ve kicked the covers off and are left with bare legs thanks to their summer pajamas! When the seasons change, it’s time to change out bedding and pajamas. Flannel sheets may be the right option for your child, or it may just be time to add that extra blanket at bedtime.
If your child doesn’t have an alarm clock yet, consider introducing one. Bedtimes and wake times can be easier when they can see the time on their own. Digital clocks are great for older kids, and if your younger child needs some help, create a wake up time ‘cheat sheet’ so that they know the numbers to watch for on the clock. You can write things like what time they can come out of their room or what time it is okay to wake up a sibling or parent.
Fall is also a great time to declutter and organize bedrooms. The less mess and distractions (no electronics please!) there are in the bedroom, the more inviting and relaxing it will be, which promotes winding down before bedtime.
Build On That Back To School Bedtime
Parents have the best of intentions when it comes to early bedtimes during the school year. While many families stay on track for the first few weeks of school, it is easy to start letting bedtimes slide as extracurricular activities and homework ramp up. But remember that an appropriate bedtime and a good night’s sleep is important for children and supports their cognitive ability, their overall mood and temperament as well as their immune system.
Keep bedtime as a priority and create a positive bedtime routine that can help your child leave the day behind and get their mind and their body ready for sleep. There are lots of options when it comes to helping your child get ready for sleep, so talk about it together and find out what appeals to them, what fills their attachment tank and what helps them relax.
If it works for your family, you can even create a smarter bedtime routine that includes opportunities for reading, comprehension and math by using flash cards, books and story kits. Some other popular bedtime routine options include practicing yoga and making a soothing bedtime playlist.
Make Mornings Easy
Getting to bed on time is important, but so is getting up in the morning! Once the novelty of the new school year wears off, kids tend to be less organized and are prone to having to rush out of bed and race around the house trying to get out the door on time.
Some of our best busy morning hacks include:
- Using a five drawer bin to lay out clothes for the entire school week.
- Making and freezing healthy breakfast options such as muffins, pancakes, energy bites or granola bars. You can even portion out your smoothie ingredients and then freeze in individual bags so that you just throw it in the blender come the morning.
- Getting dressed first. Let your kids know that getting dressed should be done before coming downstairs. Sometimes it can be too much of a battle to get them back upstairs and dressed after breakfast.
A consistent and appropriate bedtime and bedtime routine can really make a big difference. Keep sleep top of mind for your family this Fall by implementing some of our suggestions and you just may notice a healthier and happier child for the entire first semester!
Alanna McGinn is Founder and Certified Sleep Consultant of Good Night Sleep Site, a global sleep consulting practice. She is Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC) and serves on the faculty of The Family Sleep Institute. She and her husband, Mike, live in Burlington, Ontario with their 3 children (1+twins!) and when she’s not on route to the bus stop or tripping over fire trucks and tea sets, she and her global team are working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. You can follow her expert advice in national publications like Today’s Parent, Yummy Mummy Club, PBS Kids, and Canadian Living. Alanna strives in helping families and corporations overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning. You can find out more about Alanna McGinn and Good Night Sleep Site and you can join Alanna on the first Wednesday of every month at the Burlington location of Snuggle Bugz/Nestled for her in-person sleep clinic from 10-11am. Follow Good Night Sleep Site on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all your sleep essentials.