1. Formulate a plan
If you wait until the night before the first day back at school to get your children into bed early then don’t be surprised if there are tears, screams, moans and groans in the morning.
Children take time to adjust so begin preparing them for school a week before it starts. Call a family conference and announce that a new sleep schedule is going to begin so everyone is on the same page. If they cause a fuss then explain the value of sleep to them and the consequences of not having enough of it.
According to the NHS, children’s need for sleep changes depending on their age, for example a five year old needs 11 hours and a 12 year old needs just over nine. Children aged 10-18 need 8.5-9.75 hours per night. However, most children don’t get enough sleep.
2. Its not just about bedtime
It is important that the whole day is considered when trying to get children to follow a routine. Set a dinner time which will remain the same everyday and limit TV and computer game time.
A great way to implement curfews on mobile phone and TV time etc is to refer to them as privileges which can have consequences. Explain that you have given them the privilege of a computer for instance and that if they can stick to the rules then fantastic but if they are using it after bedtime they are showing you they are unable to manage and that they need help.
3. Start your old routine again
If you have let your children wake up and go to bed an hour later each day for six weeks then undoubtedly their body clock will have changed. To solve this, around a week before the end of the holidays you will need to start setting alarms.
Try setting it for an hour earlier than usual, so if your child is going to bed at 9pm and needs to go to bed at 8pm for school then start by waking them at 7am instead of 8am. After this has settled then try adjusting bedtime by moving it forward slightly each night.
5. Set tasks
Children need structure and to know whats expected of them, so a great idea is to set small tasks and rewards which will help to keep things moving in the morning. For example once they have woken up give them small jobs such as getting dressed, making their bed and having some breakfast and once they have done this they can have a small reward such as playing video games until its time to leave.
Why not go a step further by getting their clothes out for them etc the night before, this will make for a much smoother running morning!
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