Kids & Company Blog

Back to School, Back to Reality

The long, breezy nights of summer have passed, and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of fall. How did you get here – you wonder as you absentmindedly slice fruit to create an animal shape for your wee one’s bento-box style lunch. You bought the new back pack, “sharpied” the labels in all the clothing and packed up the fresh school supplies, and now here you are.

The kids are exhausted. They’re over-scheduled, over-booked and over-extended. The lack of naps and rambunctious nights have finally caught up with them – and with you. The novelty of the Pinterest snack ideas and after-school activities has worn off and you’re ready for a reality check.

Somehow in all your planning for the pivotal return of school you neglected to sort out how your wee ones were going to adjust, being thrust back into the throes of a nap-less, rigid routine. While you could be laxer in the summer, letting the somewhat strict schedule slide, autumn is not so forgiving.

If you let your wee one’s sleep schedule ride off the rails, here’s how to get healthy sleep back on track and how to avoid these issues next year:

Make it age- and school-appropriate: Reign in the later bedtimes and get the kiddos back on an age-appropriate schedule that ensures they get all the quality sleep they need to tackle their school day. Adjust the bedtimes and wake-up times gradually over several days.

Stick to it: Once your child’s sleep schedule is established, don’t mess with it! Consistency is key for healthy sleep, particularly for children. Don’t let the over-scheduling temptation win – make sleep a priority.

Establish a consistent bedtime routine: Can’t say it enough – consistency is key! Give your child a chance to calm down and unwind before bedtime. Draw a bath, pick out pyjamas and read a story. Do this every, single night to let your kiddos know that sleep is next up on the docket!

Unplug before bed: Limit TV, video games, and other electronics before bed. These are not mentally calming activities. Actually, they rev up their brains into high gear right before bedtime. And the electronic light actually inhibits the production of melatonin – the essential sleep hormone. Especially try to avoid electronic distractions at least one hour before bedtime.

Cut out caffeine and sugar: If not totally…then at least after mid-afternoon. Pop, energy drinks, and other sugary drinks and treats can over-stimulate children and interrupt their natural sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep. Lemon or fruit-infused water makes a great alternative!

Create a calm, peaceful bedroom environment: Adults and kiddos alike all fall asleep more quickly and easily in places that are dark and quiet. Ensure your child’s room is dark -- little night lights are OK if they need one -- that the bed is cozy and safe, and that the room temperature is comfortable. Remove electronic distractions like TVs and computers and set them up in a different location so your child knows the bedroom is about sleep!

Janey Reilly, well-rested President and Founder of WeeSleep™, is an expert Infant & Toddler Sleep Consultant who consults families around the globe and coaches and mentors a team to do the same!

WeeSleep™ launched after I realized how important infant and toddler sleep is, and after struggling with my son’s sleep issues and seeing and hearing about so many families having difficulties. I knew providing babies and families with healthy sleep was where I would find the most rewards in my professional life. I am passionate about healthy living, nutrition and fitness and, of course, BABY & TODDLER SLEEP! Myself and the WeeSleep™ team are dedicated to helping parents solve their baby’s sleep challenges in a positive and personal way so babies can rest and thrive and parents can rejoice!

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