It really does take organization and planning to get everyone prepped and ready for back to school. So, why not build on that work so that your family stays happy, healthy and well rested for the entire fall season? Keep reading to learn a few tips that will help your child maintain healthy sleep habits as we move through fall and into the winter months.
Create the Right Sleep Environment
Even though you may still be enjoying hot and sunny afternoons, the temperature has started to drop at night and will continue to do so. Did you know that your child could start waking more frequently at night because they’re cold in their summer pajamas? When the seasons change, it’s time to change out bedding and pajamas. Depending on where you live, an extra blanket or flannel sheets may be needed. It’s also a great time to go through that pajama drawer and make sure they have warmer options that still fit.
If your child doesn’t have an alarm clock yet, consider introducing one. Digital clocks are great for older kids, and if your younger child needs some help, create a wake up time ‘cheat sheet’ so that they know the numbers to watch for on the clock. You can write things like what time they can come out of their room, or what time it’s okay to wake up a sibling or parent.
Fall is also a great time to declutter and organize bedrooms. The less mess and distractions (keep all tech out!) there are in the bedroom, the more inviting and relaxing it will be, which promotes winding down before bedtime.
Keep That Back To School Bedtime
While many families stay on track with bedtime for the first few weeks of school, it’s easy to start letting it slide as extracurricular activities and homework ramps up. However, remember that an appropriate bedtime and a good night’s sleep supports cognitive ability, mood and temperament as well as a healthy immune system.
Keep bedtime a priority. One of the best ways to do this is to create a positive bedtime routine that helps your child leave the day behind and get their mind and body ready for sleep. Talk about it together and find out what appeals to them (no screens though), what fills their attachment tank and what helps them relax.
What About Better Mornings?
Getting to bed on time is important, but so is getting up in the morning. Once the novelty of the new school year wears off, it’s easy to slide into rushed mornings where everyone is racing around the house trying to get out the door on time. However, know that when your child goes to bed at an appropriate hour, having to get up on time for school won’t be so hard.
Try these busy morning hacks:
- Use a five drawer bin to lay out clothes for the entire school week.
- Make and freeze healthy breakfast options such as muffins, pancakes, energy bites or granola bars. You can even portion out your smoothie ingredients and then freeze in individual bags so that you just throw it in the blender come the morning.
- Let your kids know that getting dressed should be done before coming downstairs. Eliminate the battle of having to go back upstairs and get dressed after breakfast.
- Pack school lunches the night before so that there is one less job to complete in the morning.
- Get your kids to pack their school bags before bed so that they are ready to go in the morning.
A consistent, appropriate bedtime and a solid bedtime routine can really make a big difference. Keep sleep top of mind for your family this fall by implementing some of our suggestions and you just may notice healthier and happier kids for the entire first semester!
Alanna McGinn is Founder and Certified Sleep Consultant of Good Night Sleep Site, a global sleep consulting practice. She serves on the faculty of The Family Sleep Institute and is host of the ‘This Girl Loves Sleep’ Podcast. She and her husband, Mike, live in Toronto, Canada with their 3 children (1+twins!) You can follow her expert advice in national publications like Macleans, Prevention Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Huffington Post. Alanna strives in helping families (baby to adults) and corporations overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning. You can find out more about Alanna McGinn and how to work with a Good Night Sleep Consultant at goodnightsleepsite.com and follow Alanna and all her sleep tips on Instagram.