September isn’t just about the changing of leaves or the cooling temperatures, but for some it signals the start of a new school year. When children experience school for the first time, we know that issues with sleep and establishing routines can crop up.
Chireal Shallow, author of ‘The Gentle Sleep Solution: The Naturally Nurturing Way to Help Your Baby Sleep‘ – along with (Bloom and Blossom) the natural family skincare experts – has given us a few useful tips for parents to implement and maintain a healthy nighttime routine.
She tells us, “School is one of the better opportunities for children to develop good sleep hygiene, due to the rigid structure of the day. Children know when to expect break times, and the routine is structured and secure.”
For example, implementing a set bedtime and wake-up time will aid in helping them get used to a healthy practice of sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is a method that was created with the purpose of assisting those who find sleep to be evasive. As a behavioural and environmental practice it’s important to create healthy habits at a young age.
To make the whole going-back-to-school routine run a little smoother, check out these top ten tips to ensure you and your child have a healthy night’s sleep.
1. Your child is the only instruction manual you need
Talk to them about what they like at night and what they don’t. Maybe it’s too hot or cold, or perhaps that light can be brightened or dimmed?
2. Inject some of yourself into your child’s bedroom
The best thing thing you could ever give your child is you. Leave bits of yourself around their bedroom using sounds, smells and sights to surprise and comfort them, making bedtimes much less daunting.
3. Let your child control their bedtime environment
Ever reach a standoff with your child at bedtime? Well, familiar scents are a sure way to keep your child feeling calm and safe during the night. Try Dream Catcher’s Pillow Spray (75ml) for only £9.99, complete with lots of stickers for your child to personalise their bottles and spray those monsters and bad dreams away.
4. Understand their sleep experience
Why not lie yourself down with your child just before they doze off, so you can understand what it is they experience in their room. Does that backpack hanging up look creepy in the dark? Does that mirror on their wall reflect light onto them, affecting their quality of sleep?
5. Make a storybook
A fun daytime activity that can carry into your child’s bedtime routine could be creating a book together. This book would be a story of their daily routine, with photos or drawings. Then this can be read to them at night as a reminder of their routine, and also to help relax them before falling asleep.
6. Oldie but goldie, reading a bedtime story
Other than their daily routine book, any story your child might enjoy would be great to read before bed. It allows time for bonding and is comforting, as the last thing they will hear will be the sound of your voice. If your child is new to school then ‘Starting school’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg offers them friendly advice in a fun way.
7. Make a bedtime box
Fill a box with things that make your child feel safe. These can be anything from teddies, to books, toys or special photos.
8. Put up family photos
On the chance that your child’s sleep is disturbed, seeing pictures of their loved ones should soothe them. This will keep them feeling safe in bed.
9. Keep them cool
During the warmer months, or if your child simply has a warm room, a fan can help aid sleep. The gentle noise will help lull them to sleep, while keeping them cool as they drift off to dreamland.
10. Invest in quality
Knowing they are physically secure and comfortable will aid their emotional wellbeing too, so invest in a quality mattress to support them. Try the Silentnight Imagine traditional Sprung Mattress, which can be purchased online and won’t break the bank at a reasonable price of £219 .
Stuck on packed lunch ideas? We’ve got 5 Ways To Build A Healthy Lunch Box to help you out.