Tips to get your child into routine before they go back to school
I think most parents, at some time or another, have struggled with getting their kids organised and ready for the day ahead at school. Going back to school after the holidays can be pretty tricky, particularly if your child has got out of routine and has been staying up later than usual. I have certainly been there! This year I plan to get organised so I don't have a fight on my hands every morning. After a lot of research, here are my top tips to help you help your child...Good luck! Emma x
- Don't wait until last minute to get your child into a sleep routine. Start it at least a week before they go back to school. Believe me, I have learned the hard way and the first day back to school was hell!
- Tell your child why sleep is so important. I think we underestimate our child's ability for rational thought (hah! well half the time they do seem to act irrationally! lol). Studies have shown that lack of sleep can hamper mental and physical health. After losing just one hour of sleep over several nights has been shown to cause bad performance in tests designed to show how children perform in class.
- Decide what time they need to go to bed depending on their age. This may mean that an older child gets to stay up later than a younger sibling. Children aged 5-11 really need to have 10-11 hours sleep, whereas children over 12 only need around 8.5-9.5 hours.
- Make sure they have a bedtime routine. For example, if they need to be asleep by 8.30pm, at 7.30pm send them up to change into pajamas, brush teeth and choose the clothes they need for the following day. There is nothing worse than having to nag them to do everything...Use a chart for younger children if needed - kids love drawing a smiley face next to "I brushed my teeth without being asked". For older kids, you could agree to let them have a short time on their computer after those things have been completed (not too late mind...technology before bed can leave them wired! See next tip.)
- Make sure they wind down before bed. Limit their access to technology by telling them to switch off by a certain time - oh yes, you will get protests, but remind them that they get plenty of time during the day to use them. It is good to teach them restraint and show you trust them by leaving the items with them, but if they do get caught playing on their games console etc, then you may need to confiscate it at night.
- Spend time reading with your child or talking about what you will be doing the following day. My 5 year old son loves to have me sing him a song just before he sleeps (think he may be tone deaf! lol).
- If your child has been staying up late every night and sleeping-in in the mornings, instead of jumping straight into the new routine, on the first night let them go to bed the usual time they have been over the holidays, but set the alarm for the morning to be an hour before they have recently been waking. The next night, send them to bed half an hour earlier than the previous night and also set their alarm to half an hour earlier. Do this until they are going to bed and waking at the desired times.
- A bit of bribery doesn't hurt. See what will work with your child. Maybe suggest that once they have got into the new routine, you will treat them to something whilst out shopping. And your treat...some less stressful mornings and some blissful evenings for whatever you wish. 😀