Believe it or not, school days are just around the corner.
It’s exciting, we know. But there’s one thing many of us dread: sleep schedules.
You have to start now to get your little ones back into a bedtime routine.
Although it may seem like it’s not an easy task, it can be done.
Momaha.com asked Brett Kuhn, a licensed psychologist and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, last school year about getting kids back on schedule. He is certified in behavioral sleep medicine by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Kuhn gave us 5 tips to avoid the burden of bedtime:
1. Tune into time. You need to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is ideal for how it affects your day. Toddlers need 12.5 hours of sleep a night. Preteens need about 10 hours per night. Teens need nine hours. Adults should get about 8.2.
2. Be upfront. Don’t be afraid to say it’s time for bed. Talk to them about bedtime scheduling. Be open about the conversation, see if you can reach a medium.
3. Look to the light. Sunlight helps the body acclimate to sleeping schedules. “Sunlight is the most powerful signal that sets our sleep rhythm,” Kuhn said. Parents should start by waking their kids up a half-hour earlier. The more tired they are, Kuhn said the more apt they are to fall asleep early.
4. Stagger a new schedule. Don’t wait until the last minute and drastically change the bedtime. Gradually work at it. If there isn’t time for that wake them up earlier. Waking them up earlier will allow them to be more tired and ready for their new bedtime.
5. Realize the transition is a tough time. Not only is the sleep time schedule changing but so is their daily activities. For example sports schedules and other school activities. Your kids WILL complain and want to stay of later but you have to put your foot down. Kuhn said parents should focus more on their wake-up times.
As much as we may love to sleep in, Kuhn said, “Cut off that massive oversleeping. Allow their body clocks to get set. Wake them up earlier. Give them that natural bright light exposure.”
A few sleep problems and why they happen:
With infants… sometimes the parents have to put them to bed.
When it comes to toddlers or preschoolers… Watch out! They’re testing their boundaries. Parents need to manage their behavior and set limits.
When it comes to school-age children… They tend to be as good of sleepers as they get. But anxiety, mood and behavior disorders could affect their sleep schedules.
When it comes to teens… Sleep issues — trouble sleeping, sleep walking or talking — almost always are related to their sleep schedule.
What tips can you guys give us that work for your family?
Shauna Brayman, 22, is a University of Nebraska at Omaha student interning for momaha this summer.
Read her blogs by clicking here.
* * *