Back-to-School Routine Can Help Sleepy Students

Back-to-School Routine Can Help Sleepy Students

The school year has started — ready or not. A good school routine doesn’t fall into place by accident. Kids who adjust best to going back to school are those who began with good routines at home and get the proper amount of sleep. And the sooner you start their routine, the better. But don’t worry, it’s not too late.

Kids will naturally be tired from waking up earlier. Starting a new school year feeling tired and drained is starting off on the wrong foot. Sleep directly affects overall performance and appetite (lack of sleep can make it harder for kids to eat breakfast) and can also contribute to their emotional state. If you sense your child has the new school-year jitters, have a talk. Remind your child that it’s normal to be a little nervous when moving to a new grade. Setting a routine can be reassuring in it’s regularity and talk with them about bed time and the importance of getting enough sleep.

Here are some ideas that can help your child adjust to student life again:

Make a Family Calendar: Gather the entire family together and review everyone’s schedules. Include school activities, work shifts, travel, extracurricular activities, family outings, appointments, etc. Use the calendar to plug in everyone’s events. You’ll quickly see if there’s too much on someone’s plate. Keep the calendar updated daily and review together regularly to make necessary adjustments.

Schedule Going to Bed: Establish a school-night bedtime. Remember, younger children will need more sleep, while older children usually need less. And every child has individual needs. You may want to gradually put them to bed earlier and earlier a few days at a time until they reach the new bedtime. This helps them ‘practice’ getting up earlier in the morning.You may want to explain that during sleep the body heals itself. And that a good night’s sleep will help provide the energy needed to stay healthy and awake to function well during the school day.

Here’s a guide to how much sleep your child needs at what age:

Newborn – 4 months: Total Sleep: 16-18 hours. Nighttime Sleep: 8-9 hours.
4 – 12 months: Total Sleep: 12-16 hours. Nighttime Sleep: 9-10 hours.
1-2 years: Total Sleep: 11-14 hours. Nighttime Sleep: 11 hours.
3 – 5 years: 10-13 hours.
6-12 years: 9-12 hours.

Bedtime Routine: In the evening, about an hour before bedtime, children can relax in a quiet activity like reading or drawing.Then, start bedtime rituals such as: pack a lunch box, put school work and books in backpacks by the door, brush teeth, take a bath or shower, put on pajamas, set out clothes and other items for the next day and read a story. Don’t forget to go over what to expect the next day. You and your child may need to review things like: how they will get home, school lunch money, school activities and any changes to the routine.

Wake in the Morning: You may need to wake your child, especially if young. A loud alarm clock may suffice for some older children. Have a nutritious breakfast. Studies show that wholesome meals help students perform better.

After School Routine: If your child brings home school work, set a requirement that the work must be finished before TV or gaming time. Review their school work well before bedtime activities in case they need help. As a parent, anything you can do to help your child prepare for the next day will make things easier for the whole family. Everyone will be less grumpy in the morning and more productive during the day.

Although it’s normal to be a little tired and anxious in any new situation, some children develop real physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, associated with the start of school, reported KidsHealth. If you’re concerned that your child’s worries go beyond the normal back-to-school jitters, speak with your child’s doctor, teacher or school nurse.

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