Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School, Back to Sleep


It’s that time of year again, back to school, back to business, and back to sleep!  During the summer months families tend to take a break from the much needed routines necessary, however back to school encourages us to remember to get back on track for good studies. 

If you don’t have a school aged child yet, then you are in luck, you can lay the ground work for these healthy habits now to eliminate some unnecessary battles later.   If you have a school aged child, it’s never too late to learn, grow, and make positive changes to create peaceful and memorable moments with your child to help them be the best they can be. 

How can you help your child be more successful this school year?

  • Provide your child with the quality and quantity of sleep they need.   Quality sleep looks like getting the full 9-11 hours your school aged child needs.  Your child’s behavior, development and academic well being are riding on the quantity and quality of sleep they need.  You can simply create a happier and more pleasant child by encouraging good sleep habits.  Having too little sleep for children and adults can cause problems like memory loss, depression, anxiety, obesity, and a weakened immune system.  Sleep deprivation in children can mimic behavior symptoms like ADD/ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and autism.

  • Figure out that just right bedtime.  When it comes to bedtime it’s important to work with your child’s circadian rhythm which is their internal clock.  First figure out what time your child naturally wakes up or has to wake up based on their school schedule.   Then use the sleep chart to figure out your child’s quantity of sleep that they need.  That will give you a more accurate window of what time bedtime should be in your home.   

  • Create a calming and relaxing bedtime routine to help your child wrap up their day.  This is a great time to spend some quality time connecting with your child.   Some good sleep hygiene might include picking out the next day’s outfit, pack the back pack, washing face, bathing or taking a shower, brushing teeth, reading books, or praying.   Some parents wonder when is it time to relinquish bedtime duties to their child.  The process and hygiene aspects need training, the opportunity to learn how to do the necessary skill, then as the parent you release your involvement and allow for independence.  

  • Smile and greet your child with a “good morning” to start a fresh new day.    To eliminate the morning battles before school, teach your child how to use an alarm clock if they need to be woken up.  Create a morning routine checklist of what you expect your child to do in order to get ready for their day.  Some items you might include on the chart are wake up, get dressed, wash face, brush teeth, comb hair, make bed, eat breakfast, help make lunch, and put lunch in back pack.


By creating simple routines, you will transition to creating these lifelong rituals your child will have to continue these healthy habits.  Include your child as part of the process to eliminate control issues.  Great nights start with great days! Make this school year the very best for your child! 

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