Holidays can do more harm than good to children’s set patterns of sleep and activity, so transitioning kids from summer fun to school routines can be stressful for the whole family. The experts from The London Sleep Centre Dubai share their top tips on easing kids in to a healthy sleep pattern.
Ease them in
Children should sleep and wake up at the same time all year-round, but holidays often mean later nights and children’s internal body clocks get thrown off. As the new school term approaches, parents should make a point of slowly getting them back into their routine to ensure enough sleep. Sleep specialists suggest that children aged six to 11 years old need ten to 11 hours of sleep per night, while children aged 12 to 18 can do with around nine hours of sleep.
Turn off the smartphones
Lack of sleep, as well as the quality of sleep, can have an impact on classroom learning and development. Also, the light emitted from smartphones and tablets prevents the release of melatonin – our natural sleep and body clock regulation hormone – so it’s important that we help children get a good night’s sleep in relaxing environments that are cool, quiet, comfortable and gadget-free.
It helps to set rules in a way that if wake-up time is 6.30am, then bedtime has to be 8pm. Stickered wall charts and rewards at the end of the week for following rules keeps them motivated.
Starting a “wind down” routine, such as a bedtime story or a relaxing bath and a glass of warm milk one hour before bed works wonders. Be sure to avoid anything overly stimulating and your routine should not involve any form of electronics.
Help them understand
It helps to talk to your kids about the importance of sleep. From a young age they should understand that physical growth occurs when we sleep, as does learning and memory consolidation. So, in order to grow and learn better, sleep is essential. Sweet dreams!