As the school year approaches and store shelves fill with bookbags and notebooks, one parenting expert says school supplies aren’t the only things parents should prepare for September.
Studies have shown that healthy sleep habits can make a big difference to a child’s academic performance and overall health, but for an agitated child who’s used to playing outside all summer, Setting a new sleep schedule can be difficult.
Caron Irwin, parenting expert and founder of Lou Family, a consulting service for parents and caregivers, says that creating a bedtime routine can help prepare children for academic success. It states that not only can you prepare it, but you can also acquire healthy habits for the future of your child. young.
“In the summer, our bedtime routine often gets lost in the middle because it can be different every night depending on what’s going on. But a really great strategy is to reestablish that bedtime routine, Or start creating,” Irwin told CTVNews.ca. in a phone interview Thursday.
Here are some tips for creating an effective bedtime routine.
Give them control while being coached
Imposing a new routine after three months of non-stop summer fun can cause turmoil in the home, but getting children involved in creating a bedtime routine can help reduce the power imbalance. It could help clear it up, Erwin said.
“Communicating bedtime routines in an age-appropriate way can be very beneficial,” she said.
By asking why you need to start going to bed early to sit down and communicate with your child, and what can help you achieve that, your child feels empowered to make their own decisions. Irwin said it can.
Depending on the child’s age, she might have a simple discussion for preteens or teenagers, or use pictures with younger children to plan things they need to do before bed, such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed. , recommends using different strategies. in their pajamas.
“Hearing their opinion is very important because it will not only give them a preview to prepare for this change, but it will also involve them in creating some of the planning proposals. So it also empowers them,” she said.
Incorporate calming activities
As for the actual bedtime routine, Irwin recommends incorporating calming activities to help children prepare for bed.
Bedtime rituals can include reading together before bed, meditating, or setting a time to stop using your phone, tablet, or other gadget with a screen before you go to bed.
One of Irwin’s tips for helping children calm down before bed is to play calming music around them as they bathe or brush their teeth. By doing so, children will be mentally prepared and relaxed to know that it is time to rest.
“Playing the same soothing music playlist while you’re doing what I call your bedtime routine—bath, pajamas, brushing your teeth—is a good way to signal to your body what’s to come. “They’re going through that phase,” she said.
start the routine gradually
Most parents struggle to get their children accustomed to the new schedule during the first week of school, but a “dry run” of the new routine can help make the transition smoother. explains Irwin.
The best way to get your kids used to their new sleep schedule, she says, is to gradually change their nightly sleep hours to earlier hours in the weeks leading up to school, which will help them adjust to their routine. pointed out.
For example, if you want your child to be in bed by 8:00 PM, but you currently go to bed at 9:00 PM, you can slowly move your bedtime forward by 15 minutes each night.
“Maybe we’ll go to bed at 9:30 p.m. the first night, but then change it to 91:05 p.m. This is to get the kids back to a more reasonable bedtime. It’s also a very helpful tip for,” Erwin said. .
Ultimately, Irwin recommends involving children in every step of creating or re-establishing a bedtime routine so they can work together and gain a sense of independence at the same time.
“We still need to be involved, but finding ways to involve children and give them the opportunity to become leaders under our guidance will really help us succeed,” she said. Ta.