My son starts kindergarten this fall … in 16 days, actually. Ack.
We’re excited for him. He’s really looking forward to it! That’s awesome. We have everything we need. He is all ready to go. But, there’s just one thing …
He is going to have to get up early and be ready and off to school by 8 a.m. ready to learn, ready to face the day with a full belly of healthy brain food.
The problem is, I have a hard time getting up by 7:00. I will wait it out with the snooze until I absolutely cannot wait anymore. This creates a hectic morning to get everyone out of the house, but so far it doesn’t seem to cause many woes. That’s an understatement. We don’t get a healthy breakfast before the day, sometimes starting off with a sugary muffin rather than something that actually provides our body with essential nutrients.
My son needs adequate sleep to perform to his best ability. He needs a schedule that his body can adjust to, a proper meal each morning before school, and plenty of time to get to school. So, how much sleep does he need?
Are you getting enough sleep? Is your child?
The problem is … I don’t get enough sleep, and a sleep schedule has never been something that my family adheres to. I have set a schedule at work that allows me to sleep in at least 4 mornings out of the week, and I have always been a person of the night. It is really the only time of day that I get to have alone time, quiet.
But, it has to change.
I should have changed this sleeping schedule for my own sake months, perhaps years ago, but now that my little boy is going to school, I need to make sure that his body and mind are rested enough to receive information. I want him to be healthy, and that all starts with adequate sleep.
I have read some articles that talked about kids knowing when they needed sleep and that a natural cycle of sleep would come naturally. That sounds fantastic, but it isn’t really a viable option for us when we all have to be up and out by 7:30 with enough sleep to face a busy day.
I do not like to hear my children in distress over something so simple. We are here for them. They know that. But, they want to fill their nocturnal time with videos and snuggles. That’s my fault … I know. uhg
We need a schedule that their bodies can adjust to.
Here are some ways to make a child’s bedtime easy from WebMD. Let’s see if this helps.
- 1. Make sleep a family priority. — Set regular go-to-bed time for the entire family and be sure to follow them.
- 2. Deal with sleep difficulties — Signs of sleep struggles include difficulty falling asleep, nighttime awakenings, snoring, stalling, and resisting going to bed. During the day, sleep struggles include being overtired, sleepy or cranky.
- 3. Work as a team — Discuss the strategy with your child, spouse, or partner before and carry it out consistently. Make your child a part of the team by explaining the new plan.
- 4. Routine, routine, routine. – A consistent nighttime routine improved sleep in children who had mild to moderate sleeping problems. A nightly routine helps your child learn to be sleepy, much like reading in bed does for adults. The structure of a bedtime routine also associates the bedrooms with good feelings, a sense of security and control. Brush teeth, washing up, put on PJs, have a snack or drink of water, read a book, talk about the day, and keep it short.
- 5. Bedtime snacks – A snack before bed can help your child’s body stay fueled through the night. Avoid large or heavy snacks.
I’m going to stop there. The rest of the list talks about a quiet and dark sleep environment, a security object, and again, staying consistent. I know all of this. I have read these same tips a hundred times. It’s quite simple. Why doesn’t it help me? Well I know. I have to change my own habits before I can teach good habits to my kids. It’s hard to change this one thing about myself. It seems I have changed so many things to suit my responsibilities, and I want to hold on to my late night movie sessions and reading through the wee hours.
But the breakdowns before bedtime certainly don’t set me up for a very peaceful night, and it isn’t at all pleasant for my sweet kiddos. When kids are introduced to something new, like an earlier bedtime, they are bound to lose their shit. They will cry and plead, asking for more, asking for this, asking for that, telling you that they need you and they don’t want to be alone. It’s not really their fault, after all, they learn from you.
I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time leaving my children to cry, especially when they sound so upset. But if I give in, then I am not accomplishing much in the way of making a routine, and a routine is going to have to be established. We can’t fly by the seat of our pants at bedtime in the morning anymore. We have to have our son ready.
It will get easier. It will get easier. It will improve. We will all be better off if we just stand firm.
I found this on empowering parents.com :
Have Your Child Set Their Own Alarm Clock — When kids begin pre-school or kindergarten, they should get an alarm clock. Teach them how to set themselves at night when they start school. Part of the ritual of getting up is that we set the alarm clock at night when we go to bed. That way, you get your child to take responsibility as soon as they have some place they need to go. This is basic behavioral training, and it’s effective in getting kids into the routine of waking up in the morning. By the way, I would recommend that you get an alarm clock with a subtle ring that doesn’t rattle kids’ nerves in the morning.
Last Christmas, Corbin got an alarm clock that looks like Emmet from the Lego Movie. He was pretty excited about it, but it has sort of been forgotten on and off. I think using the alarm clock as a way for him to learn responsibility for himself will be very positive for him.
So, great! We have a plan in place, at least sort of. Start a routine. (Don’t forget to read to your children). Stick to the routine. Stay consistent. Don’t give in. Give them some responsibility.
I hope this works with my toddler!
Remember. Bedtime should be soothing. Whatever helps you relax, try it with your kids. Dimmed lights, a little music, and a story before lights outs is going to put anyone in a dreamy mood.
For now, we need to gradually transition to something that makes more sense at bedtime!