Plan for an early bedtime for at least the first two weeks:
Even if your child has been in daycare, starting kindergarten is exhausting in a different way than daycare. If you think back to starting a new job, or if you have gone back to work after maternity leave, you know it is tiring! What do I consider an early bedtime? 15-30 minutes earlier than your current bedtime will help.
Limit screen time:
The light emitted from electronics can interfere with your natural release of melatonin (our sleep hormone), making it harder to fall asleep. Turn off the tv or computer at least 60 minutes before bed. I don’t think that a show after school is a bad thing, some of us do this after the kids are in bed to unwind (I know I do).
Make sure homework is completed early in the evening so that it is out of the way and you and your child can enjoy some downtime before bed.
Talk about your day:
Over dinner or as part of your bedtime routine, share a funny event or something that made you happy, and ask them about their day. Who did they play with, what was their most and least favourite thing about the day? Be prepared for the “I don’t remember” or “I didn’t do anything” or “I forget” – and roll with it. If you know they had gym then you can ask what they played. If they don’t’ feel like talking about it, it’s okay, you are opening the doors of communication and some nights they just might surprise you and talk non stop!
Read a book or tell a story:
We all have visions of reading bedtime stories with toddlers but once they can read by themselves it's just as important. For some kids, they learn to read in SK and it might only be a few words to start. Go with it! Point to words as you read and let them know that if they want to try reading any of the words, they can. As they get older, you can read one page and they can read one page. Telling a story is always fun as well, so if you are running late and you need to do a modified bedtime routine, tell them a story as you go through brushing teeth, getting pj on etc and wrap it up as you tuck them in.
Everyone is going to be tired for the first few weeks. Give yourself permission to take that time to get used to the new routine, and try to get to bed a little earlier yourself too!
Witten by Jamie Contarini, a certified sleep consultant with Good Night Sleep Site Halton. Proud Mama of two boys. Jamie realized that her interest in helping change some of her son’s sleep habits actually turned into a passion and she happily joined the Good Night team with her mission being to help families around the world succeed as she did.