During the summer holidays, we all tend to have a fairly liberal approach to when we go to bed. Because every day is different and some mornings there’s no reason to be early risers, we loosen the restraints on our children’s bedtimes too.
As any parent will know, the biggest challenge when changing our children’s bedtime arrives when the summer holiday’s come to a close and the new school year begins.
Here at Sleepy People we want to help you and your children get the best sleep possible, so we have put together these 10 tips to make your transition back into a school routine as smooth as it can be.
Ease it in
For both adults and children, it can be really difficult to alter our sleep patterns within one nights sleep.
Instead of waiting until the night before the first day back at school, ease the routine in by slowly introducing it to your children in the last couple of weeks before school starts.
Limit tech before bed
Things like mobile phones and televisions give off something called blue light. Essentially, this is the same form of light emitted by the sun. Our body clocks are influenced by sunlight, so that when there’s an absence of it, we naturally begin to feel sleepier. Read more on this by reading this post from our blog.
Watching television or using mobile phones and tablets just before bed can make us feel more awake as our body clock is being flooded with what it thinks is sunlight. Try limiting you and your children use of this tech before bedtime to give yourselves a better chance of nodding off.
Cut sugary pre-bedtime snacks
We’re all very well aware of how much kids love anything sweet. However, sugary snacks and treats should really be avoided before bed.
Sugar gives us a quick boost of energy, which is the last thing we need when we are trying to get to sleep. If you or your children can’t help but snack around bedtime, try some of these alternatives on the Huffington Post.
Keep routine at the weekend
The best way to keep a routine running is to stick to it. If you’re just introducing it, but disrupt it two days a week, there’s a good chance it’s not going to work as well as you might have planned.
We are under no illusions that getting your kids up on a weekend is easier said than done (especially if you have teenagers), however, you’ll soon see the benefits on Sunday nights if you are able to do it.
Remove mobile phones from bedrooms
There are few things more inseparable than kids and their mobile phones. Whether parents like it or not, social media now plays a massive part in the relationships between children. In fact, according to this article from The Telegraph, teenagers now spend over 27 hours a week online.
However, a little too much could actually be affecting our sleep. A recent study found a link between sleep deprivation and the use of Facebook. Read more in this post from our blog.
If you can, try persuading your children to cut back the social media scrolling close to bedtime. If they are particularly responsive, try removing mobile phones from the bedroom altogether close to bedtime.
Trying to remove lots of tech from your kid’s room at the end of the holidays isn’t exactly going to go down well, so try easing in some compromises first.
Instead of watching television or streaming services on tablets, introduce bedtime friendly music, podcasts or audiobooks. There’s more to choose from than ever before for every age and you’ll still be reducing the blue light they consume.
Create a great sleeping environment
For lots of children, the thought of going to bed is a dull one, so we’ve got to try and change that.
Try and make your children’s bedroom as appealing as possible, full of comfortable bedding, fun lighting and anything that is particularly special to them, like their favourite cuddly toys.
Talk with your children
If you try and enforce a strict bedtime on your children out of the blue, there a reasonable chance they might not take to it straight away. Sometimes, the harder you push, the further away you actually end up from succeeding.
Talk to them about changing it, because there might be something which will help them happier come bed time that you hadn’t thought of.
Have test runs
When making a big change in your children’s bed time, some things actually might not work out. Providing you are starting to introduce the routine a week or two before school starts, you should have plenty of time to try out different routines. If one thing doesn’t fly with the kids, think about what you can change to make it work.
Get tasks done early
As the school year begins, your children will begin to bring home homework. Depending on their age this could prove to be fairly extensive.
Try to encourage them to do this earlier in the evening, so that their brain isn’t working too hard close to their bed time.