Life. It gets busy, right? Some days involve later bedtimes and missed naps. Our house can be full of excitement on weekends from visiting family, movie nights, extra-curricular activities and our family dance parties. Most of the time our kids are in bed at normal times, but there are some days that naps are skipped or bedtimes are late.
Time flies fast, the weekend is over, school and work are upon us and then comes the reality check.
When Monday rolls around, the late bedtimes are a thing of the past, and so is the sleeping in (if your kids let you). Healthy sleep habits are important to help everyone be at their best. Getting back into a routine can be a challenge, but with commitment, you too can do it.
Prepare the Night Before
There are many things you can do to make the morning go more smoothly for everyone. Pack lunches and backpacks, put out outfits for the next day (for everyone), and put backpacks and shoes by the door.
Set Your Alarm
Get up five minutes earlier than you need to in the morning. That extra five minutes is great for last minute things to do (unexpected diaper changes, spilled milk, or power struggles). That extra five minutes allows me to prepare things before my kids get up, helps me be more available to help them, and more relaxed.
Establish a Routine
Help your child follow a routine and help them be responsible for getting ready to go. Using a chart can help your school-age child remember what needs to be done, and keep you from nagging them in the morning to get everything done.
Go to Bed Early
Parents, make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep at night! Turn off the TV, your smartphones and tablets and hit the sack! Make sure your kids are getting enough sleep as well. Newborns need between 14-17 hours of sleep (in a 24 hour period), school-age kids need between 9-11 hours, and teens need 8-10. Individuals who get enough sleep have longer attention spans, better cognitive skills, stronger immune systems and are at less risk for injury.
If you’ve tried all of these tips, and your family is still struggling, then it's time to consider sleep training.
Use Sleep Training
If your baby/toddler wakes throughout the night or struggles with falling asleep independently, sleep training can help improve sleep for the whole family. Once you have implemented a routine, sleep training can give your child the confidence to sleep well, and prevent some of the common sleep challenges. If you find your family struggling with early wake ups in the morning, short naps, or difficulty falling asleep then sleep training can make a huge difference. To begin, make sure you have at least a week where you can commit to all sleep being at home. Develop a schedule, decide on a method and, above all, be consistent!
Implementing these tips, including sleep training, can help your family be well-rested and healthy.
Do you have other tips that make your mornings run smoothly?
Julia Walsh is a mother of three, and a Certified Sleep Consultant with Good Night Sleep Site North Carolina. When she’s not playing with Legos and dolls or baking yummy treats with her children, she helps families overcome their sleep challenges. Follow Julia on Facebook and Twitter for daily sleep tips and advice.