Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, the holidays are pretty much over. It’s been a great summer, but there’s already a nip in the air and thoughts are turning to the new season: the sharpening of pencils and inspection of shoes and uniform to see what needs to be replaced.
There are loads of articles about what we can do to help our kids not only cope, but excel in school, but we think it ultimately comes down to one key thing: a good night’s sleep. Experts recommend at least nine hours – even more for younger children. Inadequate or interrupted sleep can lead to lack of concentration, irritability, fatigue and behavioural problems.
Our kids’ routines have been lost over the summer holidays, with long, lazy days, late nights and lots of lie-ins (or is it lies-in?). Getting them back into that school or college timetable groove is a challenge.
Start preparing now.
Leave it till the night before and there will be tears – the first day back is tough enough as it is, so a little advance prep will pay dividends.
It’s all about increments. Getting them to bed progressively earlier each night and waking them up a little earlier each morning will help them to adjust. Don’t use weekends for a lie-in (sorry!), until that school rhythm has been re-established.
Don’t let children eat immediately before bedtime and of course avoid the Coke, caffeine and sugary drinks. It also helps that they only go to their bedroom when it’s time for sleeping – and do make sure their bed is as cosy and inviting as it can be. Our Junior Washable Duvet and Pillow are soft, cosy and hypo-allergenic.
Make the room as dark as possible too – black-out blinds are worth every penny. If possible wean your children away off leaving the light on, because darkness matters. Too much light at night inhibits our brain’s ability to produce the hormone Melatonin, which helps us not only fall asleep, but stay there.
It’s important to establish a bedtime routine, with time for a bath, a milky drink, stories or reading (books, not screens): it worked when they were babies and you’d be surprised how well it works with older children too.
It goes without saying that phones and gadgets – and anything that pings or dings – have no place in the bedroom on school nights.
And finally, practice what you preach: lead the way in not only promoting, but also maintaining healthy sleep habits and you’re guaranteed a family home that’s an absolute haven of zen-like calm – maybe!!