I have noticed that there has been an increase in the number of students who have been reporting that they are tired at school. This is across all of the grade levels at school. For young children, in their first few years of school, the start of the school year can be quite tiring and draining. Having to concentrate in a classroom and then run around madly with their friends at lunch time can really take its toll on a small child. Add to that the fact that our first few weeks at school are at the hottest part of the year and you have the recipe for a tired, grumpy child.
If you have a tired young child here are some do’s and don’ts to make sure that your bedtime routine can run as smoothly as possible.
- Do keep your routine as consistent as possible. Keep your activities in the same order for roughly the same amount of time. For example, bath then dinner then story then lights out.
- Don’t have screen time for at least an hour before bedtime. This includes television, ipads and phones.
- Do read your child a story and then leave. The bedtime story gives them time to settle and then it is time for you to leave.
- Don’t be drawn into arguments. Redirect back to bed, give consequences for not staying in bed and follow through.
- Do make sure all adults in the house are consistent with the approach to bedtime.
Please make sure that you stick to an early regular bedtime for these children as it will make all the difference to their behaviour and their academic success. Children who don’t have regular bed times are more likely to have behavioural issues than children who have a regular bedtime routine. Researchers think inconsistent bedtimes probably affect young children like jet lag.
The biggest issue for older children and sleep is technology. Again, do not let them have access to any technology for the hour before bedtime. Under no circumstances let them go to their beds with phones, ipads or laptops! You are setting them up for a life time of sleep issues and a horrible day at school the next day. Not to mention the roll on effect of when that preteen has to come home to you.
In short, put in the effort to reinforce and be consistent with bedtimes and you and your child will be better off for it.