Are your kids a terror to get to bed and wake up for school? Summer is filled with fun family activities, but it usually also leads to children veering from their normal sleep schedule, making it exceedingly difficult to get them back on schedule when school resumes.
When children don’t get enough sleep, they may become irritable or hyper which can lead to behavior problems, difficulty learning and even weight issues.
While it may seem impossible to get your child to go to bed without ten glasses of water and hours of back and forth, if you follow these simple steps rest is within reach.
Establish a routine
Having a regular sleep schedule and routine can make things less stressful for you and your children. While there isn’t a single routine that’s right for everyone, it should include a few basics such as brushing teeth, washing up and putting on pajamas. Good additions to the nightly routine could include reading a short book or talking about your day.
To avoid extra pleas, make their usual excuses to get out of bed part of their routine. For example, give your child a glass of water after they brush their teeth and make sure your child uses the restroom before laying down.
Caffeine is a stimulant so it’s best to avoid any drinks containing sugar and caffeine within three hours of bedtime.
Make a relaxing environment
When bedtime comes be sure their room is dark, cool and quiet. Children don’t want to feel like they’re missing out on something so it’s helpful to keep household noises at a minimum after their set bedtime.
Electronic devices often give off a blue light that tricks the brain into wakefulness. It’s best to turn off all televisions, computers, and games at least one hour before bedtime.
Set rules and follow them
Kids will always try to push the boundaries so stick to your guns and let them know you mean business. Set a limit on how many stories are to be read each night and acceptable reasons to get out of bed.
Set summer hours
Getting back into the grind doesn’t have to happen every year, try to stay as close to the normal schedule as possible to avoid confusing your body.
The key to setting a good schedule starts with understanding how much sleep your child needs and setting a strict bedtime based on that.
How much sleep is enough?
1 to 4 weeks old: Newborns sleep approximately 16-17 hours a day, however they have not yet developed a night/day cycle so schedules may vary.
1 to 4 months old: Night/day cycles begin to develop, allowing for longer periods of sleep at night. 16-17 hours are still the norm.
4 months to 1 year: Healthy sleeping habits and schedules begin at this age. Your child should begin sleeping through the night with up to three naps during the day, resulting in 14-15 hours of sleep each day.
1 to 3 years old: Most toddlers need 12-14 hours of sleep, but schedules can make this difficult. Shoot for at least ten hours at night and an afternoon nap.
3 to 6 years old: Some children in this age category would still benefit from a nap but schedules often won’t allow for one.
7 to 12 years old: This age group needs around 10-12 hours of sleep each night.
13 to 18 years old: Despite their demanding schedules and growing responsibility, teens still need about 10 hours of sleep.
Getting quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. With these helpful tips you will no longer have to worry whether your child is getting enough sleep or fighting with them to do so.