Watch above: back to school sleep routine
SASKATOON – It’s not just binders and backpacks parents should be worried about as the school year approaches. Sleep experts say if a household hasn’t started its back-to-school sleep routine, you need to start tonight.
“Sleep is a priority because if we don’t protect our children’s’ sleep, who is?” said Amanda Hudye, founder and president of SleepWell Baby.
For the Danielson family, while their routine hasn’t been a free-for-all summer, their children have been going to bed a little later and sleeping in.
“Right now I’m going to bed at ten, 10:30 and waking up around the same time ten, 9:30. School days, usually going to bed around nine and waking up around seven to get ready for school,” said Tyler Danielson, who will be going into the eighth grade.
The exact reason why their mother Jana says she started getting them back into a regular sleep routine this past weekend in order to prepare them for the upcoming school year.
“We wouldn’t feed our kids healthy food just once a week or we wouldn’t just hydrate our body just once a week and I think sometimes sleep gets forgotten,” said Jana Danielson.
If the boys don’t get enough sleep the night before, Jana says it’s pretty obvious.
“Even though they’re older now they very much mimic a baby or a toddler so they are a little more unruly, they’re not as agreeable as they usually are even their eating habits change when they’re sleep deprived.”
The biggest challenge in this household of five is managing sleep schedules when extracurricular activities take over.
One other offender that can be a cause for late nights and one many families can relate to – technology.
“Electronics,” said Will Danielson, who will be going into the sixth grade.
According to sleep experts, “A happy family is a well rested family,” so start now.
“Start moving that bedtime back by about 15-20 minutes every day or two until you’re at that bedtime where it’s the right time for your child,” explained Hudye.
Switch off those pesky electronics at least 60 minutes before bedtime and get your child’s room ready for sleep.
“We want it to be completely dark, cool and just a great place to calm down and have a really restorative sleep,” added Hudye.
Parents also need to pick an appropriate bedtime for their child:
“You know you’re child best and some may need a little bit more sleep than others,” added Hudye.
The best strategy above and beyond all the rest say sleep experts is to set a standard routine and stick to it.
“Success at school starts with sleep so when our children are well rested they’re able to cope with their day and thrive and excel versus being sleep deprived and tired, it really makes for a tough day for them so we want to set them up for success and we need to protect their sleep.”