TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SLEEP ROUTINE
I can’t believe the kids are back to school next week. We’re generally a last-minute no-plan kind of family but I do appreciate the routine the school year brings. And with the start of the school year, I get the pleasure of trying to reinforce a normal bedtime routine.
My kids go to bed at 8pm, with a negotiation time of 9pm on the weekends if they have a babysitter (at 11yrs. and 9yrs. respectively). And, I have to say, we’re generally pretty strict about this. But, summer is summer. It doesn’t get dark until later in the evening, so it does make it that much more difficult.
Consistency is key, that’s why we don’t veer from it much during the summer months. They may go to bed later on nights they have baseball, but that’s about it.
Tips for getting your kids back onto their school year sleep routine:
1) Give them advance warning that it’s going to happen. If they are old enough to understand, don’t just spring it on them that they have to go to bed early that night. Let them know in advance. A lot of good sleep is mental preparation and routine. Even kids need a heads up to mentally prepare for a good nights’ sleep. Let them know it’s coming.
2) I know it’s hard, but try to reduce the amount of screen time kids have before bed. I generally don’t allow any devices upstairs – including our own! I don’t even have an alarm clock in the kids’ room for this reason. Studies show that total darkness is best for a deep and restful sleep and reducing their exposure to screens before bedtime is also beneficial to ensuring their bodies relax.
3) If you haven’t had a routine in the past, it’s time to start one. The routine establishes the mental preparation I mentioned above which is key in getting them to relax. We do the same things in the same order every night; brush teeth, shower, pj’s, read – lights out!