With the lazy days of summer almost over, you’re probably trying to get your kids back on a routine that doesn’t involve sleeping past noon. Check out our tips. Hint: You might adopt a few too!
1. Start the transition gradually.
A few weeks before school begins, your kids should start going to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier every three days. This is an easy way to reintroduce good sleep habits.
2. Keep the bluescreens at bay.
Laptop screens, iPads and phone screens emit a short wavelength that the human eye sees as blue. This blue light messes with circadian rhythms, which act like an internal clock. The circadian rhythm starts slowing you down a few hours before bedtime, but blue light has the opposite effect. It makes you more alert by reducing melatonin levels that naturally encourage sleep.
The solution? Limit your child’s access to technology at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Either read aloud or loan your child a good page-turner.
3. Put the phones away.
Charge phones in a location far from your child’s bedroom. It’s just too tempting to check every text or notification.
4. Turn up the noise.
White-noise machines mask household sounds and provide soothing beats. If you use a white-noise machine long enough, it becomes a sleep cue.
5. Cut out the caffeine.
It can take up to five hours for your body to metabolize caffeine, so limit the amount your child consumes and stop offering it after lunch. Soda is not the only culprit.
Caffeine can also be found in energy drinks, chocolate and some protein bars. Try replacing store-bought protein bars with some homemade Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars.
6. Focus on the right amount of sleep.
In general, kids 6 to 12 need nine to 12 hours of sleep, while teens should get eight to 10 hours of shut-eye. Adequate sleep is essential for attention span, memory and mental and physical health.
If you start making small changes now, your child should be back on track before the first school bell rings.
Will you put your laptop away before bedtime too?