Every year come late August, cooler temps make it feel as if fall is knocking on summer’s door. Some mornings and evenings come with a cool brisk breeze and the kids with sun kiss blonde tips in their hair are finally sleeping past 6:30am. I will miss our carefree days, the warm sunshine, trips to the beach, and most importantly, having all three of children at home with me.
While I still hold on to these last two weeks of summer, I am starting to make a few transitions in the children’s schedules, even habits so that when the start of school does creep up on all of us, we are not all in state of shock. Little things, like making their bedtimes a bit earlier, less screen time, and getting back into our bedtime stories routines are just some of the steps I am doing to prepare them for back to school.
I’m thrilled to have teamed up with Sealy for their Back to School, Back to Sleep” campaign, which recognizes the challenges American families face, switching from relaxed summertime days, to a more structured schedule with school and different activities. Sealy has joined forces with University of North Carolina’s Department of Medicine and Sleep Science program to create helpful tips to help parents make the right choices when gearing up for back to school. Here are some of their tips for establishing a back-to-school sleep schedule.
Bedtime Shift – Starting a week or two before school starts, determine the number of hours your child’s bedtime needs to shift and gradually advance the bedtime and wake time to the appropriate time (by no more than 30 minutes per day).
Night Owls No More – No late bedtimes. The recommended number of hours of sleep differs for each age group. According to the National Sleep Foundation, school age (5-10 years) should get 10-11 hours and teens (11-17 years) should get 8.5-9.5 hours.
Boycott Late-Night Electronics: Turning off electronics in the evening two to three hours before bedtime is a good rule of thumb. Any type of electronic device that emits blue light or revs up brain activity counteracts the body’s natural transition to sleep.
The Mattress Matters – To help ensure a comfortable night’s sleep, invest in a mattress that is engineered to fully support the back and align the body.
Break up with Snooze – Don’t allow your child to sleep in. Keep wake times consistent across both school days and weekends.
The Breakfast Benefit – Make breakfast a priority and serve it at a consistent time each morning. Not only will kids be energized for the day, but a nutritious start helps them learn more effectively.
Take Your Cue – There are external cues that help synchronize our sleep/wake rhythm. The sun is by far the most powerful environmental cue, which can be used to help us orient to our desired routine. Have your child get sunshine in the morning soon after waking.
For me, it’s easy to see how the number of hours my children sleep at night make an impact on them. If Gemma skips an afternoon nap, it takes a good two days to get her back on track. With the older ones, they are more likely to misbehave if they are lacking sleep. Sealy believes that no matter your age, finding a bed that gives you outstanding back support, that’s durable and has added comfort, is important in getting quality sleep every night. I think the combination of a great mattress for your child and proper bedtime routines, your back to school schedule will be less difficult. I would love to hear some of your tips for preparing the kids for back to school.