One of the best parts of school holidays is not having to adhere to a strict bedtime schedule.
In fact, some parents might even leave their kids up late so they sleep in the next day, meaning they, too, can catch some extra rest. (Not me! I’m just saying, that’s what some parents might have done…)
But school is back this week and the chickens have come home to roost. We now have to get our kids back on track with their sleep schedules so they don’t fall asleep in class or on the floor in the lounge room shortly after returning home from school, thus messing up their sleep that evening.
Mamamia’s Jackie Lunn shares her perfect morning routine before school. Article continues after audio.
Sleep Coach Cheryl Fingleston says there’s lots of things parents can do to ensure the transition from school holidays to school goes smoothly, and her advice also works for pre-school kids just starting school.
It’s about getting our children to bed as early as possible so their bodies can get as much rest as is needed, a good 10-12 hour window in general is optimal.
Fingleston has shared the following tips:
1. Decide if your child is going to eat early or a little later with the family.
You don’t want your child eating too early, as they will be hungry before bed, or too late, as they will feel uncomfortable.
2. Play outside before dinner or bath time.
Ensuring a good sleep routine starts in the late afternoon when your children should be playing outside. This has to do with the length of the waves of sunlight, the long waves of sunlight, dusk triggers the production of Melatonin - the sleep hormone. So, after your child has played outside, it’s either dinner or bath time.
3. 15 minutes of 'quiet time' in bed.
This should be in their bedroom. Read, play gentle music and then tuck your child in, kiss and cuddle good night and leave. Make sure that your child is completely ready for bed. e.g your child has been to the toilet, had a drink of water, brushed teeth.
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4. Your school-aged child should fall asleep in the dark.
Falling asleep in the dark is very important as it helps promote the production of melatonin.
Then there are the tips that will help you, the parent, get a good night's rest:
- Get prepared the night before to ensure a stress-free morning for all;
- Go through the school timetable with your child to encourage responsibility for possessions and time-management;
- Make a checklist together each night for things you'll need the next day including uniforms, lunches, letters, notes and activity clothes such as sports uniforms.
We hope you and your children have a wonderful school year.
You'll find more tips on sleep on the official The Sleep Coach Facebook page.
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