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Creating Better Sleep: How To Help Your Kids Handle The New School Year
Monday, September 24, 2018

by special guest contributor Joyce Wilson*

For many families, the beginning of a new school year comes loaded with conflicting feelings: excitement, stress, joy and exhaustion. It can be difficult to get everyone back on a healthy schedule after a summer of staying up late and having no responsibilities, which means it’s important to create a routine that will be easy for your little ones to follow once school starts again. This will help them feel rested and will positively affect their moods and productivity in class, and it will also benefit their physical health as well.

While it’s not always easy to get everyone on a good routine, there are small things you can do before school starts and in the early weeks to help them get more rest. Remember that quality sleep is just as important as quantity, so you’ll need to think about how to ensure your kiddos get deep REM sleep with no interruptions. This might mean cutting off liquids after a certain time, or changing up their diet to include foods that will make sleep easier.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to help your kids handle the new school year.

Make it Comfy

Consider the environment your child is sleeping in. Is it too hot? Too cold? Are his pajamas uncomfortable? If your laundry room is close to his bedroom, does the dryer keep him awake when you’re doing a load later in the day? These are all things that can affect your child’s ability to get to sleep or stay asleep, so make his room as comfortable as possible. What he feels, sees, and hears can have a big impact on how well he rests at night. You might also consider an air purifier, which will reduce allergens and help your child breathe easier, and possibly prevent visits to the doctor’s office during the school year.

Put Away the Screens

Most kids these days are all about the television, smartphone and tablet. While there are some great learning opportunities on these devices, the blue light they emit can cut into their sleep and make it harder to feel rested and refreshed. Have your little ones turn off the screens at least an hour before bed so they can focus on relaxing before they go down for the night.

Change Their Diet

There are several foods that will help your little ones drop off more easily at night, so consider giving them one last snack before bed. Peanut butter, yogurt, bananas, cheese, eggs and turkey are all foods that can help form amino acids that work to help us get sleepy. You might also consider having breakfast for dinner, which can combine many of these foods at once.

Have the Dog Sleep in His Own Bed

Many pet owners love to snuggle with their animals at night, but it could be interrupting your child’s sleep. Every time your pup gets up for a drink or moves around on the bed, your child runs the risk of waking up, and even if he doesn’t wake fully, the interruption can still be felt the next day when he’s groggy and irritable. Set some snuggle time while you’re reading together before bedtime and have your pet sleep in his own bed to help your child get the rest he needs.

Creating a better sleep routine for your family can take some time, so it’s a good idea to get started before school is back in session. Set a bedtime during the last week of summer break to help everyone ease into their new schedule. This way, the first few weeks won’t be such a shock, and your family can swing back into a routine much more easily.

Joyce Wilson's contribution is courtesy of teacherspark.org. Photo via Pixabay by Jdebber