Back to school sleep routine: how to get your kids ready for term time

The long summer holiday, full of late nights and long lie-ins, can completely throw off your child’s bedtime routine.

However, those first few days of term don’t need to be full of bleary eyes and missed school buses.

TEMPUR looks at how you can get your kids back into a good sleep routine, to ensure that they get the best possible start to their school year.

HOW MUCH SLEEP SHOULD MY CHILD BE GETTING?

Making sure your child is getting the right amount of sleep is important to their mental and physical growth.

So, before delving into a sleep routine for your child, it’s important to understand how much sleep they should be getting.

According to the NHS, a growing pre-school child aged between three and five is recommended to sleep between 10 to 13 hours a night.

However, this drops down to only nine to 11 hours for school-aged children aged six to 11, and even lower for teens where the recommended is only eight to 10 hours.

Of course, every child is different and your child may need more or less than the recommended amount. Keep an eye on them and build a sleep routine specifically for their needs.

GETTING BACK INTO THE OLD PRE-BED ROUTINE

Getting children back into a normal routine can be difficult, especially once they’re used to a summer routine. However, it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience full of tears before bedtime or grumpy teenagers in the morning!

Something important to consider is getting your child back into the school routine days, or even weeks, before the school term starts. This is because most people’s body clocks take up to a week, and sometimes even longer, to reset.

Consider, as we get to the end of the summer, making bedtime a few minutes earlier per night to help with the process of adjusting your child’s body clock.

Another thing to consider is making the house darker an hour before bed – drawing curtains and dimming the lights, for example – to ensure they realise it’s getting time for bed.

As discussed in our previous post about perfecting your child’s bedtime routine, younger kids will benefit from a strict routine that can involve things such as a bath, brushing teeth, reading or having a glass of warm milk.

Milk contains two properties, melatonin and tryptophan, which help with falling asleep.

For older children and teenagers, their bed becomes a place to relax, read or watch videos on their tablet or phone. However, while this may be fine during the summer holidays, in the days building up to term, they may benefit from leaving the bed as somewhere to just sleep, helping to increase the association between going to bed and going to sleep.

LAST MINUTE TIPS

Unfortunately, end-of-summer trips or other things can get in the way of establishing the back to school routine in advance of the first day of term. Thankfully though, there are a few last minute things you can do to ensure the first morning back is as pain free as possible…

Prepare the night before – get your kids to pack their bags and lay out their clothes the night before. You can also prepare their packed lunches in advance to ensure you all get a precious few minutes extra in bed and don’t forget anything.

Avoid electronic devices before bed – don’t let your children game, WhatsApp or watch YouTube videos before getting in to bed. The blue light emitted can delay melatonin release (which is needed to ‘relax’ the brain), preventing you from sleeping properly. Give them an electronics curfew of two hours before bed to maximise their chances of nodding off quickly.

Do you have any tips on getting back into a sleeping routine? Let us know in the comments below…

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