BACK TO SCHOOL AND BACK TO SLEEP & ‘NORMALITY’
- Mums Tips
- Published on Sunday, 31 August 2014 11:55
- Last Updated on 29 August 2014
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Is there any such thing as normality with kids? Of course not, but a decent routine is likely to help us run a smooth family life.
With children heading back to school after the long Summer break, it’s important to help them get back into a sleeping schedule to ensure they are well rested and prepared for the day ahead. As a bonus, more sleep for the children generally means more sleep for parents too! To add to that it is crucial to also reassure them that school is fun and help them get back into a learning mode. We know how hard the first few days after the school holidays can be. To help you get back to some sort of ‘normality’, I have gathered great tips from two experts.
Back to sleep
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan (Silentnight’s sleep expert) offers her simple tips to make sure children get the sleep they need:
- Start introducing technology-free time in the evenings –ideally 60-90min before bed. Bedrooms should be technology free (including TVs).
- Gradually reintroduce earlier bedtimes –for pre-teens getting them into bed by 8.30am, for teens (a tough one) ideally in bed by 9pm so there’s no late night TV watching.
- Kids should have a calming pre-sleep routine –reading, relaxing bath, milky drink, avoiding over-stimulating TV or computer games.
- Talk to your child about any anxieties or worries about going back to school, encourage yoga or meditation (repeating a calming word or breathing deeply from the belly).
- Bedrooms need to be sleep friendly –keep them cool, use aromatherapy oils (e.g. lavender) or maybe even a new duvet to make the room feel calm and relaxing.
- Make sure they are getting exercise during the day to encourage good sleep.
- Encourage good nutritional habits –cut back on sugars and stimulating drinks, lots of water to keep well hydrated.
Back to School Tips
I love these tips on to get back into ‘learning mode’ by Geraldine Taylor (Educational consultant at Parragon ‘Gold Stars’ range of activity workbooks) – totally spot on. I will certainly follow them.
- Keep ‘Back to School’ Cool – Children pick up on parental anxieties and tensions very quickly, so make sure back to school preparation is as positive and fun as possible. Try not to leave things to last minute and panic; children will otherwise associate going to school with negativity.
- School Rehearsals – To ease children into the school morning routine again, practice getting up early and putting on school uniforms to make it easier on the first day. In the week leading up, set fun tasks such as organising pencil cases, sharpening pencils, helping polish shoes and practice packing school bags. If children are starting at a new school or taking a new journey, a few days before walk or drive the school route they will be taking so they familiarise themselves with the journey and feel comfortable with where they are going.
- Reaffirm Friendships – Knowing they have friends at school, will help with the transition back, so look to host an end of the summer party or have some friends over for tea a few days before school starts. Once children get back with their friends they will quickly feel they belong and have fun, helping to combat any worries they have about going back.
- Brain Warm Up – As children move to a different year group, parent’s shouldn’t focus on what a children ought to know by this stage. Instead the most valuable thing parents can do is to revisit past learning exercises and start practising things like times tables, spelling and handwriting at a slightly easier level than they have been working on. This will help reaffirm their ability and build classroom confidence. Gold Stars® educational range from Parragon is the perfect learning support for 0-11 year olds as they are full of bright and clearly illustrated activities to make learning fun and help support Maths, English, language and Phonics learning. Check out also the London Mums’ blog about Summer books and storytelling for additional suggestions.
- Lunch time – To help children get back into the school day routine, encourage lunchtimes to be spent eating around the tables together, like in a school hall. Make a typical packed lunch with their new school lunchbox to add a sense of excitement and discuss what they’d like for lunch each day. The excitement of what to have for lunch each day at school will help distract from any worries they may have.
- Create a Learning Space – Homework is an inevitable part of growing up. By encouraging children to create a learning space they will feel more relaxed and supported about completing homework. Whether the area is a desk, nice chair in the corner of their bedroom or at the family dinner table, practise setting up the space at a regular designated time a few times a week to complete small tasks in the lead up to school. These habits will help the transition of having to complete learning at home once school starts.
- Bed times – The night before the first day can be stressful for anxious children. Make sure the bedtime routine has been reintroduced a few days before to help familiarise themselves with the process and to ensure they get enough sleep and rest. Make sure the evenings are kept relaxed and positive, with fun bed time stories and making sure everything is prepared for a smooth morning, i.e. clothes are ironed and ready, school bags packed.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums