Adjusting to new schedules and routines can be hard. Children and teens may have different diets, habits and sleep routines now that they are in school than they had during the summer. These different routines might make it harder for them to fall asleep at night and wake up on time in the mornings. Here are some tips from AboutKidsHealth for getting your child or teen’s sleep routine back on track.
Sleep tips for children
Create a relaxing and consistent bedtime routine for children to stick to during the week and on weekends, when possible (at least six days a week). To do this, be clear about when bedtime is each night and have 20 to 30 minutes of quiet time before bed. It is also important to create a comfortable sleep environment. This means making sure your child’s bedroom is cool and quiet and that their mattress and pillow offer good support for their spine.
Other ways to help your child with sleep include:
encouraging your child to get regular exercise
avoiding or limiting caffeine from the afternoon onwards
offering regular, balanced meals
avoiding daytime naps in children aged six and older
For more information, read Sleep tips: How to help your child get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep tips for teens
Let your teen take charge of their own bedtime, but be clear about how many hours of sleep your teen should have each night and when you expect them to be in bed. Although children’s sleep schedules change when they reach the teen years, they should continue to keep to regular bedtimes and wake times on weekdays and weekends.
If your teen has trouble sleeping, encourage them to take some deep, relaxing breaths or do some relaxing activities before bedtime, such as yoga or writing in a journal. They can also watch “Sleep: A bedtime story” to help them prepare for bed and get to sleep. The video offers tips for leaving behind worries of the day, creating an environment that will allow for more comfortable and peaceful sleep, and relaxing the mind and body to allow sleep to come when it’s ready.
Find more sleep recommendations for teenagers in the article, Sleep tips: How to help your teen get a good night’s sleep.
AboutKidsHealth is SickKids’ health-education website and features more than 3,500 articles on a range of health topics. For more information on sleep and other health topics, visit aboutkidshealth.ca.