During summer, we have a way of prolonging our bedtime. This is primarily because the daylight hours are longer, thus interfering with the release of Melatonin- Our sleep hormone. Adding to the fact that we feel the need to get out there and enjoy every bit of the warm weather and the sunshine we possibly can. We all find ourselves still up above our normal sleeping time, and this can be bad when children prepare to go back to School in September.
At the end of summer you look back fondly at all the trips to the beach, the back yard barbecues, and the after dinner walks to the cinema but you also realize that at the end of summer, is back to school for you children and the need to get your children back on some kind of a sleep schedule.
So what should you do?
First, don’t wait until when school starts before you start laying down the bedtime rules and have everybody in bed by 8:00. The joy of a new school year, along with a couple of months of late bedtimes will make this a difficult place to start. Preparing them ahead of time will adjust their sleep hormones to adapt to the new bedtime so they can get up early in the morning relaxed, with fresh brains.
You should slowly start moving bedtime back to a suitable time at least 2weeks before school resumes. If for the past months your children have been going to bed somewhere around 8:30-9:00 pm, for example, start by bringing their sleeping earlier by 15 minutes every 5 nights. This way, by the time school, begins, your child’s body has adjusted to going to bed at an earlier time.
You can help your teens by encouraging them to write out a bedtime routine that can help them make the transition into night time easier. For teens, a bath or shower can be a good way to unwind and a glass of chamomile tea might be just perfect to release of Melatonin. On top of that, some quiet time in their room listening to music or reading can be a good way to relax, followed by sleep. Again, 30 minutes is an appropriate length for a bedtime routine and trying to get to bed at the same time every night will make it easier and more of a habit to wake up at the same time in the morning.
During summer, children always have the habit of watching TV or playing video games right before bed has been linked to an increase in the amount of time it takes children to fall asleep, so those activities should be stopped at least an hour before bedtime before school starts.
Setting a timer can be a fun way to adjust your child sleeping time before school starts to keep the bedtime routine on track. You can make it a goal to get everyone ready and in bed by the time the timer goes off. That way it’s not really YOUR fault that they have to get ready for bed, it’s the timer’s decision! And they will adapt to that. A good length for a bedtime routine is about half an hour to 45 minutes.
Holidays are usually a time for children to relax and have fun. This makes them go way above their sleeping time due to various activities which are quite normal for children. But before summers end and a new school year starts, they should be controlled by setting a bedtime schedule to make their hormones adapt.