Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Getting Back On Track With Back To School

It's the most wonderful time of the year.....oh wait, that's not right.  Unless you have spent the entire Summer, everyday with your kids, you might not be happy that the kiddies are going back to school.  Then there is the group of parents who are dancing as the school bus pulls away, taking their loves off for another school year. 

I am somewhere in between.  I LOVE being at home everyday with Mason and Amanda, but on the other hand, Mason is ready for pre-school.  The benefits of pre-school far outweigh Mason being home with me everyday.  This is the first time we will really have to follow a schedule.  I mean, I loosely follow one each day, but we kind of just go with the flow. 

Mason and sleeping have never gone together.  Since he was a baby, he was a cat napper and is still up several times through the night.  So, I know that getting him to bed and having him get enough sleep will be our biggest challenge.  We have a bedtime routine of bath, pj's, brushing teeth, stories, etc.  And we have always tried to stick to it, even through the Summer. Most days we were successful, others we gave in to a later bedtime. So how do we get back on track?

A gradual transition of establishing your child's school routine is probably best.  It will allow for your child to reset their internal clock and in turn, get enough sleep.  Hopefully, this will put off the dreaded bedtime battles that surely ensue.

According to a recent article from Parents.com, most elementary school students need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, while most teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sleep nightly. Inadequate sleep leads to irritability, impaired focus, and can heighten symptoms of ADD/ADHD
Here's some additional suggestions from Parents.com on how to re establish your child's bedtime routine just in time for school:
  • Begin the transition by setting up a 30-minute routine of pre-bedtime activities.
  • Use a checklist to help your child take ownership of her routine.
  • A good pre-bedtime routine helps a child slow down and prepare for sleep. Plus it helps set the stage for a smooth start in the morning.

Here are some ideas for pre-bedtime activities:
  • Review the next day's agenda
  • Pack the backpack and set it out
  • Set out clothes for the next day
  • Bathe
  • Put on pajamas
  • Do a quiet activity that does not include the computer, video games, or TV.

Transition gradually. Start the pre-bedtime routine 10 to 15 minutes earlier every few nights. It may take two weeks to adjust to going to bed an hour earlier. But consistency is important in establishing the routine, so try to follow the schedule on weekends as well.

Following a transition plan will help prepare your child for a new school year with as little stress as possible -- for the whole family.

Chasing Tiny Feet

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