Remember back in the old days of last spring when our kids still went to school every weekday and had to get up early to be on time? For a lot of parents, the routine their children used to maintain went out the window months ago and they’re now trying to figure out how to change their nocturnal lifestyle into a schedule that works for the new school year. The good news is that experts say it can be done, it just takes some help from parents to help them reset and these tips can help.
- Start waking them up earlier- If your kid has been waking up at 1pm for the last few months, it may feel impossible to get them up at six in the morning for school, but it can be done with a little preparation.
- Dr. Hovig Artinian, a pediatric pulmonologist, suggests parents start the process of waking their kids up an hour earlier than usual for a few days, then moving up an hour earlier for a few days, and so on.
- Try not to let them take naps so they naturally start getting tired and falling asleep earlier.
- And if you only have a week to adjust their schedule? Do a “boot camp” and move their wake time up earlier every day so they’re ready to be up at school time.
- Let the light in -Exposing kids to lots of light in the morning helps encourage them to wake up. So before they open their eyes, open the blinds and let the sunshine in the room because that stimulates the brain to send the signals that say awake and alert.
- Be mindful of kids’ mental health- Just like adults, anxiety could be worse for kids during the pandemic and feeling stressed could make it harder for them to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up rested. Check in with your kids about what they’re going through and how they feel, especially if you notice they seem down, sad, excessively worried, or their behavior is off.
- Stick with a regular schedule- Even if your child isn’t leaving the house to go back to school, setting a routine for meals, exercising, waking and sleeping will encourage better sleep habits. PediatricianCandice Jonesexplains that a regular schedule will “keep some sense of normalcy and certainty in our lives.”