Together with Colette McCann Certified Child Sleep Consultant Phoenix Dreams Child Sleep Consultancy We have created this guide as we know bed time is such a tricky time for so many parents.
- Gradually adjust bedtime earlier in the days leading up to the return to school – Routines tend to be slightly more relaxed over the summer months, and in some cases bedtime (and the time starting the day) may have slipped a little later. If this has been the case for your little one(s), I recommend gradually bringing bedtime earlier in the days leading up to the return to school. I recommend bringing bedtime 15 minutes earlier every 3 days until you bring it back to where it needs to be for school term, and simultaneously bringing the morning wake time 15 minutes earlier until it reaches the time your little one will need to start the day during school term. This small measure can help a child’s body clock adjust in the lead up to returning to school and avoid them starting the school term overtired.
- Avoid screen time one hour before bedtime and replace this with a nice wind down routine – The blue light from screens can delay the onset of sleep and impact on the production of the sleepy hormone melatonin in our bodies.
The last hour before bedtime should focus on wind down activities, such as colouring, songs, etc and then bringing the end of the bedtime routine up to a child’s bedroom starting their night on a positive note while using this as an opportunity to have valuable one on one time. Some lovely additions to the bedtime routine can include bedtime stories and speaking about what a child enjoyed about the day.
- Avoid high sugar foods before bedtime – Encouraging a well-balanced diet, particularly limiting high sugar foods close to bedtime can help the onset of sleep and a good night’s rest.
- Make sure your child’s bedroom is as dark as possible – This promotes the production of the sleepy hormone melatonin and helps your child’s body realise it’s sleep time. This is especially important when the evenings are still nice and bright.
- If your child has difficulty falling asleep at night, or wakes multiple times per night and you feel this may be impacting them/your family, now is a good time to get to the cause of those waking’s and help your little one get the rest they need –
Children in preschool and school have extremely stimulating days, and a good night’s rest will help them throughout the day including adjusting to their new school/class.
I freely share tips and advice on my social media channels (follow @phoenixdreams_sleep on Instagram and @PhoenixDreams on Facebook) while I offer 1:1 support/one off calls to help parents for sleep concerns in children up to the age of 7 years.