Chasing Davies: Rehabbing our Sleep Routines

August 18, 2016

Rehabbing our Sleep Routines

Summer is winding down (and for many, school is already back in session), and that means getting back on schedule.  While our summer schedule didn't change much, since both of my kids are not yet in grade school, summer still brings extra light, extra things to do and more fun, thus causing later than usual nights (Olympics are also not helping! Kids have loved watching them.).  And we've been paying for it each and every mornings during the week!  The kids are conveniently way too tired to get going on the weekdays (causing lots of nagging and running late), but up and at 'em on the weekends just fine (why does this always happen that way?!?!).

Did you know that 3 to 5 year olds need 11 to 13 hours of sleep a day?! 
(learn more about good sleep habits for your kids here.) 

Children's Mercy's Dr. Rochelle Harris in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics provides tips for getting back into a routine for best sleep: "Getting back in a good sleep routine is huge, but kids can’t reset the night before school starts. The recommendation is at least a week out from the school year, begin getting up at the appropriate time and also begin a night time sleep schedule. Good sleep hygiene should be practiced. That means turning off ALL electronics 45 minutes to an hour before sleep. Phones, tablets, and televisions produce light that keeps the brain from producing melatonin which helps everyone fall to sleep naturally." You can find more sleep tips for your kids here!

I think a routine helps take out the surprises for our kids.  It keeps them in a familiar zone and reduces the stress when it's time to transition from one thing to another.  Transitional games/activities also help us get from whatever they were doing before starting to think through bedtime (i.e. TV) to our bedtime routine without the abruptness.  We will play hide in seek or quiet games or solo play (like with Dooplos or Legos) before heading upstairs.

 We hit the bathroom first.  If it's bath night, we start with the tub, but if not, we start with going potty, washing hands and brushing teeth.  The kids will sometimes drag this part out by playing in the sink or with water, but we dangle the next step at them to encourage them to wrap it up...

Books!  We always read books at night and the kids love it (dangling books to get them out of the bathroom works most of the time).  This is a great time to calm down and relax while prepping for sleep. Each kid gets to pick out a book to read and we read all together.  After books, we turn off the lights and sing songs. It's all about the subtle transitions from one thing to the next, easing our way into the dark and to sleep.

The final touch is all about white noise.  We use a mix of music and a fan.  The fan acts as the white noise, but also keep the room cooler and air moving. I personally love sleeping with the fan on (even when the weather is cooler).  The music both of my kids listen to is a 500+ song playlist that my husband poured over.  He picked a mix of songs that fell under a 85 beats per minute (softer and slower songs ideal for calming and sleeping).

If you feel like your child might have more serious sleep issues, Children's Mercy has a Sleep Lab, which you can learn more about and preview here.  And for other helpful parenting content, make sure to visit, and follow Children’s Mercy on Facebook and Twitter for more everyday parenting tips!

This post is in partnership with Children's Mercy Hospital.  All opinions are my own, and ultimately, just so glad we have this gem in our city and they have rich content online to help us all navigate the would of parenting!

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