It’s that time of year again. The six-week holidays are arguably the best time of year for the little ones. Not having to get up early and no need to worry about going to bed early because there’re no alarms to wake up to - it’s a student’s dream.
However, getting back into a sleep schedule after the six-week holidays can be hard. With this in mind, we’ve written a guide to help get that back to school sleep schedule back on track. We’ve also got some mummy bloggers on board to give their top tips and advice on how to get the little one’s back into the swing of things.
How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
Did you know your children need different amounts of sleep depending on their age? In order for them to work to their full potential at school, it’s advised that:
- Ages 5 to 8 get between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night.
- Ages 9 to 12 get 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night.
- Ages 13 to 18 get 7.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night.
A Few Quick Tips on How to Get Back Into a School Sleep Schedule
1. Put their alarm clock well away from their bed so they have to get up to turn it off.
2. Make sure your kids shower before bed for a refreshing and satisfying night’s sleep.
3. Try and stop them from eating sugary snacks before bed.
4. Start preparing at least two weeks before school starts.
5. Don’t let them charge their phone near their beds - it’s too tempting!
6. Encourage your children to make their beds when they wake up. A made bed is much less inviting than a messy one.
It’s recommended that you start changing up their sleep schedule at least two weeks before term starts. In 15-minute increments, gradually reduce their bedtime every few days. If they usually sleep at 10pm, get them started on 9:45pm - then move it to 9:30, then to 9:15 and so on until you’re happy with the time they’re drifting off.
We chatted to Laura Summers, the face behind Laura’s Lovely Blog who described how she tackles bedtimes with her children. She said:
“It can be tough getting children back into a routine after the wonderful freedom of the summer holidays. This year, we come back from our holiday with just a few days until the children return to school - so it will be back with a bit of a bang for them.
“As soon as we're back, I will start to ease them back into a bedtime routine and bring their bedtime a little earlier each day. Even though they go to bed later in the holidays, I still like to maintain our routine of bath, story and bed, which I do think helps them get back into things when I start getting a bit tougher with them about bedtimes.
“I also start talking to them about things they are looking forward to about going back to school - such as seeing their friends and favourite activities which helps with the transition.”
Keep A Regular Schedule
Keeping on top of their sleep schedule is just as important as implementing it. Don’t give them a couple of extra hours just because it’s the weekend. This can ruin the work you’ve put in already and send you right back to square one.
Try A Relaxing Routine
You don’t have to do anything that will take too much effort, but an hour or two of physical activity before dinnertime will help tire them out in time for bed. Giving your children a relaxing bath in the early evening will help them wind down after the day. Even reading a book with them before bed can help - it really is the little things!
This is essential to combat those late-night refusals to sleep. The blue light that emits from a phone tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime, so your children may find it harder to doze off. On top of this, the brain shouldn’t be too mentally stimulated before bed.
Create A Calming Sleep Environment
Ensure their room is dimly lit, cool in temperature and quiet to avoid any disturbances that may hinder their sleep. Bedtime must mean bedtime, too. So, if your little ones spend a lot of time in their bedroom, make sure they have a beanbag or chair to use so they aren’t always sat on their bed when they aren’t tired.
Communication is Key
Explain why it’s important for them to be getting a good sleep before school starts. Better yet, show them why. Lead by example and practice what you preach. Once they see that you’re sticking to a routine, they’ll start to follow suit. Talking to them about what they’re excited for when they go back to school will help too, as it will make them want to get into bed and wake up for the big day.
Wake Up Earlier
Getting your children to sleep early is only half of the story. Making sure they get up and out of bed early is just as important. For every fifteen minutes you take off their bedtime, do the same for when you wake them up. It will make those early morning moody struggles so much more bearable!
Jo Middleton, the blogger behind Slummy Single Mummy, advises:
“I’ve always found teenagers trickiest in terms of getting back into a school sleep routine, because their sleep definitely does NOT fit a working day! When my youngest was at secondary school, she’d quite happily revert to getting up at 3pm in the school holidays, so a new term always came as a massive shock.
“I’ve always tried to ease them into it in the week or so before the holiday’s end, by gradually encouraging them to get up earlier and earlier until the first day of term. I say ‘encourage’ because it’s quite hard to actually make a teenager do anything!
“Ultimately, once they get to a certain age, it’s up to them really. If the first few days back are tough because of the change in sleep, then you just have to hope they learn something from it for next time!”
Do You Have Any Foolproof Tips on Back to School Sleep Schedules?
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