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It’s back-to-school season! Whether your kid is rejoicing about being back with their classmates or bummed about saying goodbye to lazy summer days, one thing is for sure: Getting up early and making it to school on time will be a challenge for all of us!
If your family’s routine is extra-stressful thanks to sleepy kids who don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, then we have solutions for you. From the best alarm clocks for kids to easy ways you can improve your family’s sleep hygiene, this fall will give you the perfect chance to get your family on a better sleep schedule.
Forget Standard Alarm Clocks—Try Something Bolder
If you are tired of screaming at your kids to get up in the morning, then this is the best alarm clockfor you! The Clocky Alarm Clock with Wheels is so cool that it will make your kids excited to get up in the morning. The Clocky Alarm Clock does so much more than make a loud noise. This robotic alarm clock rolls around and jumps about the room, which means your kids will have to get out of bed to chase it!
It’s a hilarious way to wake up and it will ensure that your kids have to get out of bed if they want the annoying alarm noise to stop. Once they’re up and after Clocky, they will be much less likely to simply just roll over and fall back asleep like they would with a regular alarm clock.
Tap Into Your Kids’ Circadian Rhythms
A good morning starts with a good night’s sleep! But your circadian rhythm (the technical term for the internal process that regulates your sleep-wake cycle) can be thrown out of whack by seemingly innocuous lifestyle habits. For instance, did you know that bright lights before bed can actually be disruptive to your kids’ cycles? This may make it more difficult for them to achieve deep sleep and to wake up rested.
Recent research from the University of Connecticut found that bright electric light an hour before bedtime can almost entirely suppress melatonin (known as the “sleep hormone:) in preschool children. You can encourage your kids’ bodies to start naturally producing more melatonin by keeping lights low and even investing in blackout curtains for their bedrooms. And yes, dimming the lights includes shutting down light-emitting devices like smartphones and iPads at least an hour before bed.
But, just like your kids’ bodies need darkness to help encourage them to sleep, they also need light to encourage them to wake! That is why we love this Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock that actually simulates actual sunrise when it is time for your kids to start waking up. So, even if it’s an overcast day or if your bedrooms don’t have east-facing windows, this clock will duplicate daylight and help ease your sleepy kids awake. It also doubles as a nightlight and a bedside lamp.
Improve Your Family’s Sleep Hygiene
It is much easier to get your kids up in the morning if they have enjoyed a good night’s rest. But, let’s face it, kids can be notoriously difficult sleepers. If you’re struggling to get your kids to go to sleep and maybe regretting some of the sleep choices you made when they were babies, don’t despair.
Sleep hygiene, according to the Sleep Foundation, involves having a daily routine and a bedroom environment that encourages consistent and uninterrupted sleep. This includes making sure you have a relaxing pre-sleep routine and healthy habits throughout the day. You can improve your hygiene by having a regular wake-up time every day, prioritizing your rest, and making gradual adjustments to settle into a new schedule.
If you think this will help you, the book It’s Never Too Late to Sleep Train: The Low-Stress Way to High-Quality Sleep for Babies, Kids, and Parents by Dr. Craig Canapari will help you regain control of your family’s nighttime routine and ensure that you all wake up happy and rested.
Encourage Exercise—But Not Right Before Bed
Running around in the backyard before bedtime might sound like the perfect recipe to earn down sleepy kids, but exercise before bed can backfire. Recent research from the Sleep, Cognition and Neuroimaging Lab shows that high-intensity physical exercise less than two hours before bed can make it more difficult for people to fall asleep and also negatively impact the quality of sleep. On the other hand, exercise more than two hours before bed can help people get to sleep easier and sleep for a longer period of time.
So, let them roughhouse in the backyard after school. Then, as it gets closer to bedtime, reach for more subdued activities like crafting, coloring, or reading.
Make Kids Feel Prioritized…Especially At Night
Part of the reason why kids hate bedtime and keep getting up for “one more glass of water” or “one last kiss goodnight” is that they are craving more connection with their caregivers. One expert says that spending one-on-one time with each child individually doing something they wish to do, every day for at least 10-15 minutes, is the key.
“By providing this huge dose of positive attention proactively, you’ll drastically reduce the attention-seeking misbehaviors you see from your kids, like whining about bedtime or dragging it out with endless requests,” parenting expert and founder of Positive Parenting Solutions Amy McCready said. “An excellent opportunity to share that special time together is right before bed. After all, happiness and fulfillment lead to better sleep.”
So instead of barking about bedtime or scrolling through your work emails while your kids are in the bath, really set an intention to make your family’s bedtime routine meaningful and connective. If we turn bedtimes from a battleground into a time when the whole family slows down and snuggles close, those zzz’s will come a lot easier … for everyone!
Here’s to taking the battle out of waking up and making sure that everyone has a smile on their face when they walk out of the house in the morning!