How many times have you said “Go to bed!”? Probably too many. Back to school is an adjustment for many families, particularly when it comes to getting back into a bedtime routine. Sleep plays an important part in a child’s growth development, allowing their muscles, skin, and bones to grow and fix injuries, and in keeping them healthy. Studies show that kids and teens who don’t get enough sleep have trouble focusing in school, which can cause behavior problems, inability to focus, and poor grades.
Here are a few tips for getting back into a bedtime routine and helping your kids get the sleep they need.
1. Set a Firm Bedtime and Stick to It
Start making bedtime 10-15 minutes earlier each night until you reach the desired school night bedtime. This will help make a smooth transition from summer hours to school hours. Once you have a routine, keep it consistent so their bodies adapt and sync with that sleep schedule. If your children or teens have a packed schedule, try to limit late-night activities to only 1-2 nights during the school week.
2. Limit Television and Electronics
Those bright lights can significantly affect a child’s ability to fall asleep. Make sure computers, cellphones, video games, and television are turned off at least one hour before bed. Not only will kids go to bed later with these distractions but having them in their bedroom can be the cause of schoolwork distractions.
3. Dim the Lights
Dimming the lights in the evening can create a more relaxing environment and prepare your child for sleep. Darkness is necessary for one’s body to trigger melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy.
4. Create a Wind-Down Time
Take 30 minutes before bedtime to wind down. Use this time to create a bedtime routine: brush teeth, drink that final glass of water, pick out clothes for the next day, make lunch, double check that everything is ready for tomorrow, and read a quick story.
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