Well, Labour Day weekend has officially begun – and that means parents and children are about to face their first school morning in a long while.
After summer’s more casual approach to scheduling, with later nights and lazier mornings, Tuesday may come as a shock to kids and their parents.
The National Sleep Foundation notes that proper sleep is important for your child’s learning: Even just 25 minutes of less sleep per night can lead to lower grades, and insufficient rest has also been linked to fatigue and concentration problems in kids.
Here are some tips from the National Sleep Foundation to help your child adjust to the new school year:
Gradually adjust bedtimes:
In a perfect world, you’d have started two weeks ago, but if you’re only just now starting, you can still try. Try pushing bedtime forward anywhere from five to 15 minutes a day, rather than all at once. Not sure what ideal time to shoot for? Work backwards from your wake-up time. Childrenaged seven to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, while older kids need eight to nine hours.
Maintain a sleep schedule:
Once your child’s sleep schedule is set, stick with it. Don’t be tempted to use weekends to “catch up on sleep.”
Create a bedtime routine:
Start “quiet time” before bedtime to give your child time to unwind. Use relaxing activities such as bath and bedtime stories for younger children, and reading time for older children.
Turn off TV, video games and other electronic distractions leading up to bedtime.
Avoid big meals close to bedtime:
A heavy meal may prevent your child from falling asleep.
Pop and other caffeinated drinks should be limited after noon. Stick to this rule of thumb: Avoid any caffeine six hours before bedtime, as the caffeine can interrupt your child’s natural sleep patterns.
Maintain a peaceful bedtime environment:
Keep the room dark, the bed comfortable and the temperature neither too warm nor too cold. Keep electronic distractions (TV, computers, video games, cellphones) out of the bedroom.
Be a good role model:
Establish your own regular sleep cycle and set a good example for your child.
- Source: National Sleep Foundation (sleepfoundation.org and sleep.org)