Kids are heading back to school and parents all over the nation are scrambling to get back to a sane nighttime routine in time for fall academics.
If your family is anything like ours, summer nights have been filled with a little less sleep and a little more pool time, late-night movies, overnight visitors and ice cream on the patio. Time to get back to “real life,” as they say, and back to nighttime routine!
Getting Ready for School with a Nighttime Routine
Keep them awake as long as possible. School days can feel long without the usual nap routine that we tend to fall into in midsummer. However, those naps can be really detrimental to a healthy sleep routine since they often leave kids wired and awake come nightfall. In the days leading up to back-to-school, try to keep kids busy physically and mentally to stave off sleep until bedtime. We have the boys help out with the animals, prep food in the kitchen and do a plethora of crafty activities throughout the day.
Eat a big meal to keep kids satisfied throughout the night. Nobody wants to deal with midnight calls of, “Mom, I'm hungry!”
Prepare for the next day to get kids anticipating what's ahead and help mornings go more smoothly. We like to pack a hearty, protein-filled lunch the night before any big activity. This also helps the kids use up any excess energy they have left.
Take a bath. Warm water helps soothe them and if you start nightly baths at a young age, it signals to kids that bedtime is around the corner.
Make sure the kids are in bed at least eight hours before they need to wake up – otherwise, the next day will be off to a shaky start and you could even be hindering the next night's sleep as children will be more likely to require a midday nap.
Finally, have a comfortable bed with clean sheets ready for the kids to crawl into and read a book in preparation for a long night of sleep.