Late nights, long lie ins and days without structure are just some of the joys the summer holidays bring kids – but it also plays havoc on their sleep patterns.
“As the start of a new school year looms, now is the time to get children back into their regular sleep routines,” said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council.
“It’s not uncommon to find that the long break disrupts bed and wake up times. However routine is key for a good night’s kip and in order to readjust sleep patterns, specialists recommend a steady transitional routine – start by backing up the time kids hit the sack by about 20-30 minutes every day.”
Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development. Young children need around 10-11 hours sleep a night, older children around nine. Lack of sleep can make children irritable and can lead to mood swings, behavioural problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that effects their ability to learn in school.
It’s also important to have a proper wind down routine where toys or any electronic items are put away and they have a bath, a warm milky drink and read a book. This gets children relaxed and ready for bed. Make sure that the bed is comfy and welcoming too and never send kids to bed if they’re being naughty!
Said Lisa: “Whatever you do, don’t wait until a couple of days before your child starts back at school or you will have a battle on your hands.”
Here are The Sleep Council’s top tips to help your child get back into a routine ready for school:
- · Impress on them the importance of a good night’s sleep
- · Encourage regular exercise – outdoor play, bike rides or trampolining
- Reduce caffeine such as coke and other fizzy drinks, and even chocolate
- · Try and get them into a routine – doing things in the same order before going to bed at night will help
- · Make sure the bedroom is tech free, or alternatively zone it into sleep and play areas
- · Create a restful sleeping environment – a room that is dark, cool, quiet, safe and comfortable
- · Make sure the bed is comfortable. Make sure it is still big enough for growing children