Let’s face it, we have had a great summer. The weather has been kind and the kids have ruled the roost. Routines have well and truly gone out the window. That said September is only around the corner & it’s time to start thinking about getting everyone back into a routine.
1. Scale bedtime back gradually by 15 mins every 2-3 days until you have reached the desired school bedtime.
2. Set a consistent wake-up time and stick to it. This does mean actively waking a sleeping child however it will assist them in shifting their body clocks back to term time mode.
3. Be consistent again with the bedtime routine. Do this by starting the wind-down 1 hour before the desired bedtime.
4. Turn off all screens including TVs 1 hour before bed. Blue light from these inhibits melatonin production, the sleepy hormone, and as such will impact on your child’s ability to settle to sleep easily. Encourage reading, colouring or quiet floor games instead.
5.Ensure that your child’s room is as dark as possible at bedtime. Dark evenings have not yet set in, thank goodness, so ensuring that your child’s room is dark sends the right signals for sleep. It will support their melatonin production which will help them to get to sleep and stay asleep for longer.
6. Determine how much sleep your child needs. A child of 6 will need 10-11 hours at night. Older children of 10+ will require 8-10 hours.
7. Encourage exercise & outdoor play at every opportunity. Getting out in sunlight helps the body to regulate.
8. Start regular nutritious mealtimes again. The evening family meal is a great way to reconnect after a busy day.
9. Hydrate. Water is key to body & brain function. A hydrated child will sleep better at night & perform better at school.
10. Make sleep a priority in your family. Lack of consistent consolidated sleep can make children tearful, fretful & lead to mood & behaviour issues.