(BPT) - Did you know the best preparation for back to school is a good night’s sleep? Lack of sleep can affect a child’s performance, attention, learning, behavior and biological functions, experts say. In fact, recent studies show that American students might be falling behind in school due to a lack of shut-eye.
With all the excitement and stress that accompanies the new school year, many children slip into a pattern all too familiar to tired parents. One more book, one more glass of water, one more TV show ... the child who continually resists going to bed experiences difficulty in falling asleep, resulting in what doctors identify as limit-setting sleep disorder.
Parents can help children through the transition by creating an enjoyable bedtime routine that’s fun and relaxing, says Dr. Laura Sergis, pediatrician for the Children’s Medical Group and advisory board member at Cloud b, creators of award-winning products designed to help children sleep. The all important routine can include family story time with favorite books, sing-alongs to favorite lullabies and cuddly companions that alleviate night time fears with soothing sounds and lights. Incorporating a trusted buddy like Cloud b’s new Twilight Carz in the bedtime routine helps children transition from playtime to bedtime with its fun push and play action by day and its soothing starlight projection by night.
Sleep expert Kim West, licensed certified social worker, also known as The Sleep Lady, recommends that all electronics be turned off an hour before bedtime. Homework and getting bags together should be done before the one-hour electronics off time – the one hour should be for relaxing activities including bathing, washing up, reading, talking about the day, etc. Read stories like the new Scholastic classic, “My Turtle and Me”, inspired by Cloud b’s Twilight Turtle, an adorable plush that projects a soothing view of the night sky to comfort children to a peaceful night’s sleep.
Parents can add another magical element to the routine with Cloud b’s new Twilight Turtle Tunes that plays personalized lullabies featuring favorite songs, soothing sounds and even the voices of loving parents or caregivers as it projects a starry sky above. Parents put it all together on the Twilight Turtle Tunes app that delivers the magic to the special edition toy via Bluetooth.
In planning the ideal bedtime, West suggests parents do “the math backwards.” For example, if your 2-year-old needs to be up at 7 a.m. to get dressed and out the door to daycare, then he should be asleep by 8 p.m. (This age needs, on average, 11 hours at night and two hours during the day.)
She notes that it also goes without saying that parents should eliminate caffeine from their children’s diets. If it can’t be done completely, then no caffeine after 3 p.m. Dinner should be at least two hours before bedtime so that your child gets a chance to digest.
Finally, exercise during the day does help a child sleep better, but try to avoid exercise an hour before bedtime. Definitely avoid rough-housing, which can really rile up a child just when you want him to be settling down.
As parents find the best routine and stick to it, they’ll discover that the whole family is functioning better. Bedtime may become the best time of the day – a calm, quiet moment before slumber to make great memories and strengthen the bond between parents and children. For more information on sleep-friendly toys and products, visit www.cloudb.com.