It's that time of year again...the school bells are ringing and it's back to busy schedules, long days, and lots of playtime for your little ones. But with all the craziness that the long school days can bring, make sure the home is filled with lots of calm activities, cuddles, kisses, and good sleep! Here are a few tips to remember as your child starts back at preschool...and you bring back good quality sleep
Slow Things Down Before Bed: Don't go from a fun, active evening to immediately trying to get them to bed. It won't go well. Turn off the tv and iPads an hour or so before the bedtime routine. Maybe a good book or a quiet play time in their room. Then begin the their bedtime routine.
Remove Negatives from Routine: While I believe routine is important, I also think it should be a time that the toddler doesn’t dread. For instance, if your child HATES bath time, don't give him one before bedtime. Do it in the morning or even after nap time as a fun activity. If they don’t enjoy brushing their teeth, just make it a habit to do it after dinner or dessert, and before bed time. Either way, keep things enjoyable during their bedtime routine so meltdowns don't begin.
Have a Consistent Bedtime Routine: Hands down, this is one of the most important things to do to give your child the best opportunity for a good nights rest. Why? So they learn by routine what is expected of them. Their bodies will begin to follow the wind down period and become tired at this time, ready to take on the long sleep ahead. Plan for atleast an hour for your child's bedtime routine. So if your goal is to get them down in their beds by 7pm, start that routine at 6pm. Simple routines such as a bath, pjs, books, milk and then BED!!!
Choose a gentle sleep technique: As your child goes back to school, they may need more attention from you. So don't be surprised if they push for more stories, more songs, and more cuddles before turning off the light. If this is the case, use a gentle sleep training technique so you don't get stuck creating a bad habit with their sleep. You can try using the Super Nanny technique, where she slowly Backs Further Away Each Night – you start with your hand on your child's back and say ‘Sleep (name) , Sleep.’ Nothing else. Every night the goal is to keep your child in their bed. Then move backwards a few steps nightly.”
Keep the Room Dark: Extra stimulation from light is not necessary! The darker the room the better chance that when your child wakes in between sleep cycles, they will put themselves back to sleep. If there is any sort of light, there is often more wake-ups that occur.