It’s that time of year again: kids are going back to school.
For some parents, this is a blissful time. No more chauffeuring kids to-and-from day camps or play dates. No more brainstorming ideas on how to keep kids entertained all day. Now, they are back in the classroom with all their friends.
But for many parents, back-to-school is a difficult period. Not only is it hard to watch your little ones leave the house for the day, it’s also hard to get them back on a school routine. And one part of that routine is their bedtime.
After spending the summer sleeping in and having fun, kids may find it hard to adjust to waking up early and going to bed on-time. To help them get readjusted, here are some tricks to help your kids fall into their usual back-to-school sleep routine:
Ease Into It
We can all agree that it’s hard to adjust to new things. And that includes routines.
If your kids are used to staying up late and sleeping in, it will be hard to have them go to bed early again. This is not only because they’ve made a habit out of it, but because their circadian rhythm has completely changed.
Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock that manages when you feel tired and when you feel awake.
Kids may need a few days to readjust their circadian rhythm to their school schedule, so ease them into it.
Have your kids go to bed earlier and earlier every night until they’re comfortable with their new bedtime by the time school starts. When you go slow, they’ll find it easier to adjust.
Build a Bedtime Routine
The best way to trick your kids’ circadian rhythm into shape is to create a routine that includes queues associated to bedtime. Usually, these queues have to do with relaxation. You want to calm their minds and bodies so they feel sleepy when they go to bed.
Creating a calming environment for your kids will promote relaxation, which will ultimately help them fall asleep. You can do this by lighting candles and dimming the lights. Another great way to wind them down is to draw them a bubble bath and play soothing music.
Cut the Electronics
Electronics are a part of our everyday life, but they are culprits for keeping our kids up past their bedtimes.
Tablets and smart phones turn your kids’ brains into energizer bunnies that will keep running even long after you turn their bedroom lights out and kiss them goodnight. So, cut out the electronics well before they go to bed.
Many sleep experts suggest putting your electronics down at least 30-minutes before bed. This will allow your brain enough time to relax after so much stimulation.
If you want your kids to thrive in their new back-to-school bedtime routine, you need to be consistent with them. Bedtime routines rely on your circadian rhythm which relies on being consistent. Your body is willing to tell you when to stay awake and when to go to sleep—you just have to teach it to do so.
Although your kids may resist their new routine at first, staying firm with bedtimes and alarm clocks (even over the weekend) will help them in the long run.
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