Back to School… Back to Sleep!

For children, September signals the return to school routines. This may include early mornings, new daycares and drop offs, bus rides, homework, and busy evenings before getting ready to do it again the next day. Whether your child had a laid-back summer holiday or a busier one with lots of activities, (re-)establishing consistent sleep routines is particularly important this time of year.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends a regular schedule of sleep and wake times, including 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep for children aged 5-13 years.

Leading Canadian researcher Dr. Stuart Shankar identifies sleep as an essential component for managing stress. Lack of adequate sleep can affect a child’s ability to self-regulate and manage their energy and emotions over the course of the day.

As difficult as it may be in our busy world, sleep should be a priority for parents, too!

A regular evening routine helps provide structure while promoting healthy sleep habits. Here are some tips to help establish a consistent bedtime routine:

  • Begin the routine before your child shows signs of being overtired (e.g. crying, irritable, clingy, meltdowns, hyperactivity)
  • Cut back on technology use and screen time in the evening
  • Create simple but regular routines – bath, brush teeth, story, prayers, lights out – to help set the stage for sleep
  • Keep regular times for waking and sleeping and follow the routine consistently

 

Good night, sleep tight!

For more information, check out these articles:

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

Calm, Alert, and Happy by Dr. Stuart Shanker

Encouraging Good Sleep Habits

Good Sleep Habits: 10 Tips

Encouraging Good Sleep Habits