With blistering temperatures and 8:30 p.m. sunsets, it’s hard to imagine that now is the time to prepare the kids for the back-to-school routine. While you’re out there stocking up on school supplies and clothes, don’t neglect one of the most important things you can do to get your child ready to be the best student he or she can be, and that is, help re-establish a proper sleep schedule.
As tempting as it is to allow your children to continue the summer routine of staying up late, and waking up later, now is the time to ease them into back-to-school mode. Here are a few tips to assist in that transition.
• Come Inside – Outdoor play is a hallmark of summer vacation. Plenty of outdoor play during the day goes a long way in expending energy. Having the kids come indoors earlier helps them wind down.
• Unplug – So, the kids are in the house earlier. It will be tempting to allow them to take up play with their favorite video game, or veg out in front of the television. As much as possible, limit this activity in the evening, to decrease stimulation and begin the relaxing process.
• Avoid Big Meals at Night – This may interfere with your child’s ability to go to sleep.
• Establish an Evening Routine – It’s important for all to have some down time prior to hitting the hay. Ease your kids into an evening ritual that includes a relaxing bath and story-time for your younger children and reading time for yourself and your big kids.
• Break It Down – Instead of ambushing the kids with a new earlier bedtime, and rousting them out of bed at the crack of dawn, begin the transition by going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier, and getting up 15 to 30 minutes earlier. After a week, add another increment of time, till the appropriate bedtime and wake-up time is established. Keep in mind that the recommended amount of sleep for children is 10-12 hours per day for 3 to 6 year olds, 10-11 hours per day for 7-12 year olds, and 8 to 9 hours for 13-18 year olds.
• Make Peace – Create an environment that promotes peaceful sleep. Adjust the thermostat for optimal comfort and darken your bedrooms. Relocate televisions, video games and other distractions to another part of the house.
• Be the Change – Now is a great time to evaluate your own sleep schedule. Let your children see you modeling the behaviors you would like them to copy and your whole family will be better, and well rested for your efforts.
Photostock courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net