“The new school year is fast approaching! How do I get my kids to go back to school-friendly sleep times?”
When I was young, I was a night owl and would stay up late catching late-night cartoons, reading books or writing poems. Proverbial warnings that sleeping late would cause pimples and eye bags and stunt my growth had no effect on me. Staying awake deep into the night offered a relaxing vibe for me especially after a very tiring or stressful day. Grown-ups would always tell me that I would regret staying up late and miss being free to sleep early.
True enough, getting older and having growing responsibilities like caring for my little ones made me appreciate rare opportunities to get quality sleep.
We all know that we need to sleep well for our own survival and for our body to be restored to full-functioning capacity. With the new school year fast approaching, there may be a need to shift our kids to an earlier sleeping schedule if they got used to sleeping late during summer vacation. Here are three (3) essential steps that I find most effective in helping my kids achieve 8 hours of sleep.
Step 1: Get everyone involved
Each member of your household can contribute more if they know that your kids are following a certain bedtime schedule. When I established 8pm as bedtime for my kids, I had to explain to my household why and how breaking this schedule will give us a harder time to manage ourselves the following day. If my son wakes up late, we may need to exert extra effort to make sure he gets to school on time. For instance, my husband would have to wake up very early in the morning to bring my son to school if he missed his school service.
Step 2: Set the stage
More than the lighting set up or the softness and fresh smell of pillows and blankets, the spiritual, mental, emotional and/or physical conditions of my kids have the most impact to how well they could rest at home. We need to turn our home into a sanctuary where our family can feel safe, happy and loved. Issues at school should be addressed earlier in the day or during dinner time. Nagging and making a big fuss about petty things will only result in hurts and fights. The bedroom at nighttime should be a haven that prepares the hearts of the family in worshiping God through prayer and Bible devotional times.
Step 3: Create a pattern
To make sleeping early a habit, you need to regularly perform series of actions that leads everyone to feel sleepy and fall fast asleep. Our family’s bedtime ritual includes turning off the TV and gadgets, dimming the lights, saying our prayers, and ending with our daily devotions. However, if after everything is done, they are still not sleepy, do not stress about it. Try other methods like telling stories, singing songs or giving them relaxing massages.
Here are other tips that could prove helpful:
- For families like us that share a single bedroom, each member should be given at least two (2) pillows and a blanket so that they have something to drown out the noise or ward off movements or distractions from other roommates.
- Discourage assigning an object like a teddy bear or a special blanket as a “sleep mate”. Being overly dependent on such may cause sleeping disruption in case you need to wash it or if it gets lost.
- Finally, a nice shower provides a clean feel that could easily turn on your kid’s sleep mode button.
Joyce Mendoza, a night owl turned to a morning person, is wife to Attorney Desi Karlo Mendoza and mommy to Miguel, Anya(+) and Jax. Her family worships at GCF North and aspires to contribute to sharing the saving grace of Jesus Christ to all nations. She works at Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation as a Public Relations Manager.