Now that Summer is over and kids are returning to school, it’s time to get them back into their bedtime routine. If you just asked what a bedtime routine is, there’s a problem. Elementary aged children should be getting between 10-12 hours of sleep per day. Middle schoolers and high school students should plan on anywhere from 8 to 10.
Not getting the adequate amount of rest limits their ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. A lack of sleep also increases irritability, possibly leading to aggressive or inappropriate behavior, like yelling at friends or being impatient with their teachers or family members.
Here are 5 tips that will help get your family back on track for the new school year.
Reading before bed. Bedtime stories aren’t just for the little ones. Reading before bed lowers stress levels and eases built up tension. The faster you can de-stress, the faster you can fall asleep. If your children think they’re too old to be read to, have them read a book to themselves or to you for 20 minutes or so before lights out.
Relax the mind. Make sure that things like chores and homework are done at least an hour before bedtime. No last minute essay writing before it’s time to hit the hay. Young minds need time to relax and get ready for sleep mode, and they can’t do that with algebraic formulas swimming through them.
Let their body know bedtime is coming. Come up with a complete bedtime routine. Take the last hour of the day before it’s time to go to sleep and pack up school bags, get clothes set out for the next day, take baths or showers, brush teeth, and put on pajamas. By following the same pattern every night, their body realizes that sleep is on the way and it will start to wind down in preparation.
Unplugged. ipads, televisions, and smartphones seem like a great way to relax before saying goodnight, but the bright lights can actually keep kids awake longer. Turn off all electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime (right before the bedtime routine starts, perhaps?).
Ease into it. About a week before school starts, have them practice getting up for school by waking up a little earlier each morning. 15 minutes earlier per day is all it takes to get them back in the habit of rising on time every morning.
The excitement of going back to school is stressful enough (for both kids and parents). By having a sleep routine, and following some of these tips, both you and your twins will be ready to take on whatever obstacles you face in the coming months.