As the summer holidays start to wind down and with the start of the new school term just around the corner, now’s the time to get children back into their regular sleep routines.
It’s not uncommon to find that the summer holidays have disrupted bed and wake up times. However routine is key for a good night’s kip and in order to readjust sleep patterns, sleep specialists recommend a steady transitional routine – start by backing up the time kids hit the sack by about 20-30 minutes every day.
Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development. Young children need around 10-11 hours sleep a night, older children around nine. Lack of sleep can make children irritable and can lead to mood swings, behavioural problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school.
Our ‘Time to Learn’ survey back in March found that more than half (55%) of teachers questioned agreed that the brightest children in the classroom are the best slept and most wide awake.
It’s also important to have a proper wind down routine where toys or any electronic items are put away and they have a bath, a warm milky drink and read a book. This gets children relaxed ready for bed. Make sure that the bed is comfy and welcoming too – never send kids to bed if they’re being naughty!
Whatever you do, don’t wait until a couple of days before your child starts back at school or you will have a battle on your hands!
Lisa – The Sleep Council Team