All those late nights and days without structure are just some of the reasons the summer holidays can play havoc with children’s sleeping patterns. But as the start of a new school year looms, parents are advised to start trying to re-establish their regular sleep routines a good week before they go back.
Here are some top tips to help your child get back into a routine ready for school:
1. Encourage exercise
Getting active during the day will help burn off excess energy and tire them out ready for the evening.
Why not try… Visiting the park or becoming a nature detective? Get some inspiration from ‘100+ things to do with the kids’.
2. Reduce caffeine
This means limiting the amount of fizzy drinks and chocolate, especially on an evening. Caffeine can interrupt your child’s natural sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Why not try… A snack of cherries, bananas or pineapple slices as they all have complex carbohydrates and are low calorie. Cherries are thought to have the highest concentration of naturally occurring melatonin.
3. Establish a routine
Sleep specialists recommend backing up the time the kids go to bed by about 20-30 minutes every day. Before bedtime, start a ‘quiet time’ to allow your child to unwind. This could include relaxing activities, such as taking a bath and a bedtime story (for young children) or reading time (for older children).
4. Banish blue light from the bedroom
That means no TV, games consoles or mobile phones that can distract from unwinding.
Why not try… Reading a book? Check out the Children’s Book Chart for some inspiration.
5. Lead by example
Set a good example for your children by establishing your own regular sleep routine.