stacey-solomon

7 brilliant back to school sleep tips from Stacey Solomon's parenting coach

Get the kids back into a good sleep routine now

Sophie Hamilton

A new school year is just around the corner, with parents across the UK busy getting uniforms, PE kits and lunch boxes ready for the big day.

Another important thing to think about is ensuring your child is properly rested for starting back at school – and after months without a normal schedule and probable late bedtimes during the summer holidays, they are likely out of kilter for those early starts.

We spoke to The Parent and Baby Coach, Heidi Skudder - who has worked with Loose Women's Stacey Solomon and her son Rex - for some advice on this topic.

MORE: Back to school anxiety? Top child psychologist shares expert advice – for both kids and parents

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WATCH: Heidi shares her sleep and mindfulness tips for back to school

Heidi told HELLO!: "The long summer days have been amazing and the experiences you have shared have been worth the later nights, so treasure those but also remind yourself that the return to school itself could be an emotional one for your child and they will deal with it much more efficiently if your child is well-rested and has had a good night's sleep."

Here Heidi shares her top back to school sleep tips for children…

Start early

"Around one week before school starts up again, slowly start to bring bedtime a little earlier each night so that a few nights before school starts, your routine is back to how it would have otherwise have been before lockdown!

"By moving their bedtime back to the “normal” time, it will mean that your child will get a full 11-12 hours' sleep, before facing the new normal of being back in class. "

school

The first week back at school will likely be a tiring one

MORE: 12 money-saving Back to School tips for parents

Reduce screen time

"Your routine will have changed significantly over lockdown and no doubt boundaries will have slipped a little as bedtimes have become later. Not only that, but screen time has also increased as a result of many parents having to juggle work and no childcare.

"Switching off screens including phones, television and tablets 2 hours before bed and focusing on activities such as doing some family yoga, playing puzzles or reading books will be much more beneficial and help your child fall into slumber far more easily than if they are sat watching a movie just before bed.

"Not only will this help the quality of their sleep, but also the likelihood of them playing ball and going up to bed when you ask too!"

MORE: Best lunch boxes for kids and teens for back to school 2020

Bring back routine

"Bring back your consistent bedtime routine that your child will have been used to before, something like a bath, some stories and a cuddle with you – making sure you leave time to talk to them and address any worries and concerns that they have in the run-up to starting school again.

"This is particularly important for children aged 4 years and up who will understand enough about the current situation to be able to develop some potential anxiety over the new way of doing things."

sleep-coach

The Parent and Baby Coach, Heidi Skudder

Plan for post-school fatigue

"Many children have been out of childcare including school now for nearly 6 months – that is a long time without socialising and learning to the extent that they have to do at school. By understanding this, and knowing how full on it will be for them, you can then manage your expectations on how they will be when arriving home.

"If your child is tired after a full day at school, allow them some time to just sit in front of the TV and unwind."

Give more attention after school

"They may well also be craving your attention given they have been used to being with you 24/7 and all of a sudden are not, so set aside some time where you are not on your phone or cooking, to get down to their eye level and play with them and chat.

"A child with a full “love tank” is so much more likely to settle to sleep well when all of their emotional needs have been met."

Early bedtime for week one

"An early bedtime is going to be your best friend at least for the first week or so. Don’t hold out on a set bedtime just because, if your child appears emotional and exhausted, just get them to bed and set some time aside to help them wind down."

Choose the right foods

"Foods that include tryptophan are sleep-inducing so getting these into your child’s diet in that first week back may also be helpful, these include turkey, eggs, cheese and fish."

Heidi Skudder is on Instagram at @theparentandbabycoach and at parentandbabycoach.com

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