Let’s set the scene first: It’s my first time solo-parenting three little boys after having my third son. My husband was back at work. We had a rough night with sleep, and it was a no-brainer that I was going to hit the snooze button that morning! You know what I’m talking about.
Eventually, my 3-week-old baby wakes up and is READY TO EAT. So I get him all situated to nurse, and I realize that we are late. Because I hit the snooze button, right?? BUT! There’s still time to get my oldest son to school. I’m running around trying to get everyone up and ready with a baby on my boob. We didn’t have time for breakfast - cheerios in a snack cup and milk in sippy cups in the van would have to suffice.
It was also February, and around -40 degrees celsius that day.
We all got in the van. Packed up. All was good.
I got home, had some coffee, and changed out of my pajamas. Phew!
Can you relate??
I’m a night owl, so I’ve always struggled with early mornings. Even though my kids sleep great, I still have a hard time getting up before them to get myself ready. It’s one of my flaws!
So, over the years, I’ve found that things go more smoothly when I’m prepared. Transitioning back to school can be hard.
Here are my best tips for helping your children get a good night’s sleep so you can tackle the morning and the transition from home to school like a champ:
1. Utilize an appropriate bedtime!
Most children will need to go to bed between 6:00-8:00 p.m. This is a developmentally appropriate bedtime for children ages 0-10. Here’s a quick trick - figure out wha time they need to be up in the morning and shoot for bedtime to be roughly 11-12 hours prior to that. So, if they need to be up by 6:30 a.m., bedtime should probably land sometime between 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Each child is different, so you might need to tweak things to make it work for them, but focus on getting 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep. Their brains and bodies are going to need it after those long days of learning at school!
2. No screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime.
Blue light emission can hinder the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us fall asleep at night. It can also result in wake-ups, so screens in the bedroom should be avoided. Make sure to turn off the screens and dim the lights in your house in the evening hours to help your child’s body wind down from the day and prepare those sleepy juices to be released when it’s time to sleep.
3. Use a bedtime routine.
There are SO MANY benefits to using a solid bedtime routine with your child. It’s science!
4. Pick out clothes for the next day the evening before. Trust me.
It’s one less thing you have to worry about the next morning. It takes away the time from 1 - finding clothes, and 2 - deciding what to wear. You know how preschoolers can be with making decisions! Just do it the night before so it’s not a struggle in the morning. Having it all laid out can also save you time.
5. Pick out some snacks that promote sleep!
As you approach the afternoon and evening, make sure you’re serving foods and snacks (after-school or bedtime snacks if you do that) that promote quality sleep. Bananas and cherries are great fruit options. Yogurt, oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, and almonds are other great options too! Pro-tip: if dinner wasn’t well-received (because, well, kids are kids) give a spoonful of peanut butter or yogurt in the bathtub that night! You can clean them right up while they fill their tummy.
Obviously, these things can all *help* with promoting sleep and making the transition back to school easier, but if your child isn’t an independent sleeper, these tips likely won’t make much of a difference when it comes to their sleep.
Did you know I work with children ages 0-5?! If you find that you’re needing help with your toddler or preschooler’s sleep, I’m here to help. Check out my services and send me any questions you may have at email@example.com.