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Reclaiming Rest: Getting Kids’s Sleep Back on Track After Christmas

Dec 20, 2023

The joy and excitement of the holiday season often come hand in hand with late nights, festive activities, and a break from the usual routine. As the holidays comes to an end, many parents find themselves faced with the challenge of getting their children’s sleep back on track in time for school. Ensuring that your child gets enough rest is crucial for their physical and mental well-being, as well as their academic performance. Here are some top tips to help you smoothly transition your children from the holiday sleep schedule back to a school-ready routine:

  1. Gradual Transition: Start the transition process a few days before school resumes and gradually adjust bedtime and wake-up time by 15-30 minutes earlier each day. This approach helps reset your child’s internal clock without causing too much disruption.
  2. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine: Reintroduce a consistent bedtime routine to signal to your child that it’s time to wind down. This routine might include activities like reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practising relaxation exercises. Consistency is key to creating a sense of security and predictability.
  3. Limit Screen Time Before Bed: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of melatonin (the sleepy hormone). Establish a screen-free zone at least an hour before bedtime to promote a more relaxed and restful environment.
  4. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Ensure your child’s bedroom is conducive to sleep by making it dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using blackout curtains, white noise machines, or soft nightlights to create an ideal sleep setting. This is a great time to check if your child’s bed is still comfy and supportive.
  5. Fresh Air: Head out for a family walk and encourage regular exercise as this can help regulate sleep patterns. And it gets them away from those tv/tablet screens and gaming.
  6. Limit Caffeine and Sugar Intake: Put the Christmas chocolates away! Reduce the consumption of caffeinated and sugary foods, especially in the evening. These can interfere with your child’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Opt for healthier snacks and meals that promote better sleep such as bananas, cherries and sugar-free cereals. A warm milky drink is the perfect alternative to pop/juice.
  7. Communicate and Set Expectations: Talk to your child about the importance of sleep for their overall well-being and academic success. Set clear expectations and involve them in the process of transitioning back to a school sleep schedule. This helps them feel more in control and responsible for their sleep habits.
  8. Be Patient and Understanding: After all the excitement of Christmas, understand that the transition may take some time, and your child might resist the change initially. Be patient and empathetic, offering support and reassurance as they adapt to the new routine.

Re-establishing a healthy sleep routine after the holiday break is a crucial step in preparing your child for a successful return to school. By implementing these strategies and fostering a positive sleep environment, you can help your child ease back into a consistent and restful sleep schedule. Remember, the key is to make the transition gradual, maintain consistency, and prioritise your child’s overall well-being. Sweet dreams and a successful return to school!