Back to School: Expert shares tips to get your child ready for a school year bedtime routine

Pro tip: Start tonight
Certified Sleep Consultant Breni Malpass shared some tips on WECT News First at Four
Updated: Aug. 13, 2019 at 4:39 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Now is the time to start getting your children ready for back to school, especially when it comes to their sleep.

Certified Sleep Consultant Breni Malpass from Seaside Sleep Consulting shared some tips on WECT News First at Four.

“Back to school clothes, school supplies, filling out forms, and planning carpools are taking priority," Malpass said. “One thing many parents may forget to prepare for is how going back to school will affect their child’s sleep. In addition, to your school age children’s sleep being affected, your babies and toddlers may be affected by the change in schedule as well.”

Malpass shared the following tips:

1. Slowly bring bedtime earlier. Depending on the amount of change needed, start at least 1-2 weeks prior to school starting. Begin transitioning to the appropriate bedtime and wake-up time incrementally. Every couple of days wake your child up 15 minutes earlier and get them in bed 15 minutes earlier until you reach your desired schedule.

2. Re-establish your bedtime routine. Children need some quiet time to wind down before going to bed. The routine may include a bath, quiet play, and/or story time. Your bedtime routine creates cues for our bodies to settle down and prepare for sleep. In addition, limit screen time (television and electronics). You will also want to avoid caffeine and heavy meals before bed as they both can interfere with your child’s ability to fall asleep.

3. Ensure the bedroom environment is calming and peaceful. For the most restorative sleep, we want our bedrooms to be dark, cool, and have a comfortable bed. The darker the room, the more melatonin our body produces. The ideal sleeping temperatures are 68 – 72 degrees. Even a slight change in temperature can make a difference.

Malpass advises that you should not wait until the first day of school to begin making changes. She said that will result in “a great deal of protest.”

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