Starting school is such a huge milestone in your little one’s life – and yours too! There’s lots of excitement and a lot to sort out in terms of your routine before and after school and making sure they have everything they need each day, and that’s just at home. Your little one will be busy learning all day – and not just their phonics, but about everything that is expected of them at school, from sitting still in assembly to how to line up for lunch and where the loos are. Because of all of this, little ones do get very tired when they start school. And sleep is very important for them, especially when there’s a lot of learning and growing to do. It is only during the deep phase of sleep that the growth hormone is secreted, together with the hormone that tells your little one whether they are full or hungry. Plus our immune system needs sleep in order to produce proteins to fight infection; vitally important when your little one goes to school and picks up all those new bugs that they have not yet become exposed to. Sleep is vital for your child’s development too. If your little one does not sleep well, the brain cannot ‘press save’ on what was learned that day, which, as you can imagine, is absolutely vital at school. We have a whole blog on the benefits of sleep so do take a read of that, here, if you are interested!
So, how can you make sure your little one is getting lots of lovely sleep and ready to run into school every day?
- First, a bedtime routine can be really helpful for children at school. Make sure this includes some quiet and relaxing time before bed. You could consider using some ideas from the Relax Kids website or if you have an older little one, a journal like ‘My Happy Self’ journal can be really helpful for making some healthy habits.
- A bath or shower will also help your little one wind down and relax, together with the benefits of their body temperature dropping and this will help them sleep too.
- Avoid sugary foods or drinks before bedtime. If you want to take your little one for an after school treat like a hot chocolate, make sure this is earlier and not before bed. Instead, you could try a banana, some natural yoghurt or a bowl of (low sugar) cereal if your little one wants a snack before bed.
- Make sure your child’s bedroom environment is as dark as possible but also that it’s calm and relaxing. Having a lot of toys or a lot of distractions in the bedroom will make it harder for them to switch off and go to sleep.
- During the day make sure that there is plenty of exercise and running around. This is especially important during the winter as they may not have a lot of outside ‘break time’ at school so making sure that they have a little time outside when they get home will also help with sleep.
- And don’t forget that they will be tired, so try not to schedule in too many activities after school. The autumn term is a long one, and most schools will pack it full of exciting activities in the lead up to Christmas, so limit after school fun if you can and spend time chilling out so your little one isn’t too tired by the end of term.
If your little one is having trouble sleeping, we work with children up to the age of 10 so book a free 15 minute chat with one of us to discuss what’s happening and how we can help