Back To "School" looks different this year.
Everything looks different for parents and kids this fall.
Whatever your particular covid situation or scenario for homeschool or childcare this year, many families benefit from re-establishing a steady routine and getting back to making sleep a priority after a summer of camping, playing hard, campfires and sleep-overs.
5 Healthy Back-to-School Habits
You can help ease the Back To School transition with these tips:
End screen time before dinner.
Establish an appropriate bedtime so that your kiddos are getting 12 hours of sleep at night.
In the first few weeks of your transition, you will want to start the bedtime routine a full hour before their new bedtime to assure that "lights out" happens right on time. Once habits are in place a 30-40 minute routine is ideal for school-aged kids (toddlers & infants 20min. is ideal).
NOTE: Overtired kids have a harder time with bedtime. When my kiddos are overtired or over stimulated they draw bedtime out dramatically: tantrums, repetitively whining "I'mmmmm nooooooot tiiiiiiiirred", always wanting one more book, floppy giggling (that can be perceived as cute early on) and other finely tuned stalling tactics.
Lots of light exposure, and an upbeat wakeup song and book in the morning (I like Sandra Boynton's Hey Wake Up!) quickly followed by some nourishment. Food helps our bodies wake up and get the day going!
If your child doesn't normally take them, try not to allow naps in these first few weeks. An afternoon nap could push a child's bedtime back to 10pm, which then means they are missing vital, restorative, sleep at night. And this can quickly become a rough cycle to get out of.
Be gentle with yourself and your little ones. Know that if your kiddos seem impossible to get out of bed in the morning, and then get a second wind after almost falling asleep in their spaghetti at dinner time, that's normal. It takes the body-clock some time (6 weeks for some children) to shift their schedules so that they are ready for bed earlier and alert in the morning when it's time to get up. It will happen with practice - rest assured!
Use Mindful Parenting Practices - In the meantime, it's always a great reminder to use your words to Get Curious about what may be behind any stalling tactics, "I know lots of things are changing and seem uncertain this time of year. That can be really hard. What else are you thinking about?"
Make sure to reassure them with your deeper connection if they seem to be needing it, "And, there are lots of other things that are staying the same; our routines, your cozy safe bed, and my love for you is not changing anytime soon!"