Children are soon ending a long break from their last “normal” day at school. This is a time when I typically receive many questions about getting children back on their sleep schedule. However, this year could prove to be a bigger task than most if late nights, sleeping in, and a lack of routine have been happening regularly. Here are my top sleep tips for getting sleep back on track by September!
Get back on track now.
When does your child’s school day start and how much time is needed to have breakfast, get ready and commute to school? How much sleep is needed for your child? Make sure they are getting to bed early and receiving the appropriate amount of sleep for their age.
Have a bedtime routine.
Start working with a consistent bedtime routine each night. If bedtime has been later than it will be when school begins, start to adjust your child’s clock by 15 minutes every couple of days until you arrive at the desired bedtime.
Make sure some time outdoors with fresh air is happening regularly. The best hours will be when the school day is complete. This allows time to take a break, have some exercise, and get some fresh air. Hydrating properly, eating healthy food and having dedicated time to spend together as a family will also help maintain positive mental health for your child and the entire family. Placing importance in these areas will help your child sleep more easily at night.
Prepare you child for a different kind of school year.
Has your family decided to learn at home or attend school? Are they aware of what a “cohort” is or the importance of social distancing? Have some simple conversations about what school will be like:
- What are they looking forward to?
- Explain how the school year might look different and how some things might feel okay for them and some might feel different. Maintain a positive outlook while listening and validating their thoughts. If they are worried or concerned find ways to reassure them.
- Discuss the importance of proper handwashing and wearing a mask if it is necessary.
Keeping your child aware and keeping their mind at ease, can decrease the chance that your child will have a difficult time sleeping at night.
Have questions about sleep for your child or yourself as we approach new routines this September? I welcome you to call and schedule a free consultation here.
This has been a difficult time for many, especially children. Not only have our lives changed dramatically, theirs have as well. They are especially sensitive to the tension and stress parents are experiencing, which means they may feel more drained, and certainly more tired. Prioritizing sleep is essential for your children and family right now. Below I share four main reasons they need sleep, and what initial steps we can take to keep routines and sleep schedules on track during this time.
Children thrive with routines
Children thrive with routines, and truthfully, we all do. Even with most activities, schools and businesses closing, together with our social distancing, we can do something. We can control healthy habits, especially sleep. In a world that is feeling uncertain, having bedtime routines in place enables children to feel safe, secure, and rested. For example, if children usually go to bed at 7:30 P.M. and wake at 6:30 A.M. then stick with a similar schedule now. I also recommend eating together at regular mealtimes and maintaining a general weekday schedule. Keep a more relaxed weekend schedule for children and the entire family.
Sleep is crucial for their health
Proper sleep hygiene allows children to have better focus, improved energy, and boosts their immune system. Right now, focus on what you can do in terms of honouring healthy habits. We likely have more time than ever before, to eat more healthy, drink lots of water, and honour our sleep. Many children know we are trying to keep our bodies healthy right now. Have a simple conversation about how honouring our sleep is going to help with this, and make sure that you are doing this for yourself as well. Children will learn to value sleep when they see their parents doing this for themselves.
Use a Sleep Meditation
For additional help with sleep, there are some free online resources for children and parents. We have used these in our home.
- Calm is a free online meditation App that offers support during this time.
- Elaine Martin also shares some amazing sleep stories for children. I am a huge fan of her work!
Where to start
Implement a bedtime routine for your child starting tonight. If things have fallen off track with the whirlwind that has affected all of us in the world, just create a plan to begin now. Here is one example of a typical bedtime routine for children over the age of three years.
Step 1: Decide on a bedtime.
- Anywhere between 7 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. is ideal for most children.
- Plan your dinner time and evening to ensure this time works. Tip: Give yourself a 15-minute buffer when considering your schedule to allow for more time.
Step 2: Create a bedtime routine together.
- Create a visual chart for them to use!
Step 4: Enjoy this time.
- Now more than ever before, is the time to connect, slow down, and be present with children.
Step 5: Do your best.
- The night before, plan the next day, re-evaluate, and make changes. Allow your child to explore different options or ideas for tomorrow.
If you have any questions about getting proper sleep for your child or yourself, I encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation here.
Wishing you and your families the very best in sleep and health as we navigate through this time together.
Many parents have children at home while trying to juggle the household, work from home, and socially distance themselves. As a Sleep Consultant who works with tired families daily, I know this often creates even more demands on families raising young children.
Together with rested families in the Sound of Sleep Consulting private Facebook group, we have come up with some activities that are fun, easy and creative for babies and children.
1. Sensory play
Anything that stimulates the senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, sight and hearing.
Try play dough, dry pasta, coloured tissue paper in empty boxes, or fill up jars with soap, water, ice cubes, sparkles or anything else on hand to create a magic potion.
2. Create an invitation to play
Take a divided container (or use individual containers/bowls) where you can place some toys, playdough, and an assortment of items and let your child create using their imaginations.
3. Paint on a window
Use a ziploc bag, add some paper and squirts of paint. Zip up tight and tape it up for extra security, ensuring no leaks. Tape it to the window, and let your toddler, preschooler, and even an older child enjoy creating his masterpiece. Let your little one’s art work dry, and hang in an extra special spot!
We all need some exercise to stay healthy, produce happy hormones, and of course for better sleep! Babywear while doing a YouTube workout, or place your little one on a playmat while you interact with him. Join a local virtual workout class like FitMom, or give your child some hip hop music to dance and move their bodies too. Have older children create a workout play list on one of the many apps such as Spotify.
5. Create a band
Let your child take items from around the house to use as drums, and grab some spoons as drumsticks. In our family, we all have shirts from our annual Terry Fox run and became the Terry Fox Rock Band. We wore the shirts while working and our children created the music and performed for us.
While our stress levels can increase during this time, I notice a reconnection to more simpler times at home. Thankfully for many of us, with are home with those we love. I encourage everyone to take the time to accept the things we cannot control, love yourself and those you love. Who knows? You may even have fun doing one of these ideas, and experience a therapeutic connection.
Remember to honour your sleep as well. As a Sleep Consultant for babies, children, teens and adults, I know this will provide you with a stronger immune system. Rest and sleep will also decrease any additional stress and anxiety. This is needed more than ever during these trying times. I encourage you to schedule a free call here.
Wishing you the best in sleep and in health,