Summer is winding down, so it’s time to ramp up the effort to get your children on a school-friendly sleep schedule.
Summer is a season of slumber parties, backyard cookouts and weekend camping trips, and because of that, you may have been lax in enforcing your children’s bedtime. Now, with the start of a new school year right around the corner, it’s time to ensure they’re as prepared as possible—and an important part of that is getting enough sleep.
If your children don’t get the sleep they need, their grades may suffer. Children who feel tired during the day may have trouble concentrating and staying awake during class, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The organization recommends at least nine hours of sleep each night for school-aged children and at least eight for teenagers.
Right on (Sleep) Schedule
Your children may grumble when it’s time to get serious about sleep again, but it’s important to stay the course. These best practices can help ease the transition.
Start early. Don’t wait until the night before school starts to begin adjusting your children’s sleep schedules. Instead, follow the National Sleep Foundation’s suggestion. Beginning at least two weeks before school starts, set bedtime and wakeup time a few minutes earlier each day until your children are getting the amount of sleep they need.
Keep them active. Playing and exercising during the day helps children sleep better at night, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dine with bedtime in mind. Be sure your children eat dinner early enough that they’ll have plenty of time to digest before bed.
Wind down. Well before bedtime, turn off all screens and limit high-energy activities. Instead, have kids color, work on a puzzle, read or journal.
Toss out tech. Ban electronic devices from your children’s rooms at night.
Set the stage. Your children need the same ingredients for good sleep as you do: darkness—be sure to gauge how much they’re comfortable with—a comfortable mattress and a cool room temperature (60–67 degrees). Be sure their bedrooms have all of those elements.
If your child needs a pediatrician, visit stvincentneighborhoodhospital.org to find one.