With children playing outside on warm evenings, and enjoying a few late mornings, bedtime routines fall away during the summer. So when school is about to start again, it can be difficult to suddenly return to early mornings. Therefore, it’s important to help your child get back into a bedtime routine. Lack of sleep not only leads to children misbehaving at school, but it also stops children from focusing, so they’ll struggle more when it comes to learning. To make returning to school easier, follow these three steps so that your child gets all the sleep they need.
1. Gradually Adjust Your Child’s Bedtime
It’s a good idea to begin this about two weeks before school starts. You can start by bringing your child’s bedtime forward by five to fifteen minutes and wake them up – or set an alarm – the same number of minutes earlier the following morning. Continue doing this every day until your child is going to sleep at the same time they should be when school starts. Remember, children aged six to thirteen typically need between nine and eleven hours of sleep every night, so adjust bedtime routines around this. You can also make the bedroom a relaxing space, with ideas on how to do this in our Top Tips article.
2. Keep Screens Away
Putting an end to any screen time, such as watching TV, using the computer or mobile phone, and playing video games, helps improve the quality of your child’s sleep. The artificial blue light that’s emitted from these screens can restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep. Thus, alertness is increased and it’s harder to fall into a deeper sleep. By keeping these away from your child at least an hour before you want them to go to sleep, their quality of sleep is much better, and they’ll wake up feeling ready for the day ahead. Find out more about this in our article, Technology’s Impact on Sleep.
3. Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
There are many ways you can help your child unwind and get ready for sleep. About an hour before your child should go to sleep is a good time to start, and you can fill this time with relaxing activities, such as taking a bath, reading bedtime stories or making up stories, drawing, or colouring. By repeating this routine every night in the weeks leading up to the start of school, your child will associate these things with bedtime and will be ready to switch off when the lights go off.