7 Tips to Get Kids Back on a Regular Sleep Schedule
With the shelter-in-place orders keeping kids at home, it’s not surprising the new normal has sleep schedules in chaos. A good night’s sleep is crucial to healthy minds and bodies, so whether your area is slowly reopening or you’re still hunkered down with the fam, here are some fun ways to get the kiddos back on track towards a healthy sleep schedule:
Make a Bedtime Routine Photo Tutorial
Snap a pic of each stage of your child’s bedtime routine: bathtime, teeth-brushing, PJ time, book reading, potty break, etc. Then, print the pictures in order of operations and hang the photo at kid-level. Tip: Have fun with the photoshoot! Crazy jammies or bathtime gone wild make it exciting, not a chore.
Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner
Working your way toward a more regular sleep schedule may be as easy as melatonin for dinner. Rice, sweetcorn, cherries, grapes, poultry, nuts, tomatoes, olives, milk, and oats all contain naturally-occurring melatonin, a hormone that reminds your body it’s time for sleep. Be sure they don’t chow down too close to lights out, or the full stomach could cause discomfort and unrest.
Start a Final Countdown
If their sleep schedule is significantly off, a drastic change may cause more stress. Instead, make lights off time a bit earlier each night. Try increments or 10 or 15 minutes over the course of a week or two until you reach their desired bedtime. Be sure to have them wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning, too.
Give Electronics a Siesta
Studies show turning off electronics about an hour before bedtime results in quicker and better quality sleep. Replace this time before bed with other fun, yet relaxing, activities such as reading, drawing, coloring, brushing the dog, or even listening to a kid-friendly audiobook or podcast.
Cue the Sleepytime Tunes
Make peaceful music something to look forward to before bed. Involve the kids with a family event: snuggle up with PJs, fluffy pillows, and a glass of milk as you create a Spotify playlist together. Here are some ideas to get started; we love Rockabye Baby for their David Bowie and Ed Sheeran lullaby covers.
Encourage Daily Exercise
Exercise can help kids conk out faster and more willingly, so be sure it’s a part of their daily routines. The CDC recommends children 6-17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day, and several sessions of fun and developmental play for kids 2-5 years old. Fun fact: Pillowfights count as cardio!
Try the 4-7-8 Technique
Kids are all so wonderfully unique, so what works for one may not for the other. Feel free to try out one or two or a combination of these tips, and be sure to keep a comfortable sleep environment at all times—fresh sheets, a comfy pillow, and a cool temperature all highly recommended!