Easing Back into School
My kids started school today. Unlike last year, I started preparing for back to school a couple of weeks ago. The first step was getting to the boys to bed earlier. It's so hard to do in August when it is hot and the sun doesn't go down until late (it's unnatural to start school before labor day as far as I'm concerned). So, I started giving my boys a melatonin spray under the tongue about 30 - 60 minutes before bed to help counteract their exposure to light before bed. We also have some blackout curtains in their room which help if it is cool enough to keep the windows closed and curtains drawn. The melatonin worked quite well and they gradually went to bed a little earlier each night. Last night they were both in bed by 8:00 and asleep by 8:30 without a fuss. This morning they woke up at around 6:45 excited and nervous about starting school.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
One question I'm commonly asked is how much sleep is enough for children. There is no set amount of sleep a child needs, but on average 10 - 12 hours is necessary. During the school year, an easy way to gauge whether or not your child is getting enough sleep is simple. If they wake up by themselves at they time they're supposed to get up, then most likely they are getting enough sleep. However, if you have to wake them up or it takes them a long time to get going in the morning they need to go to bed earlier.
Tips to Help Your Kids Adjust to School
Dr. Laura Markham has a great parenting website with lots of useful tips for parents. If you're looking for ways to help your child transition into school check out her article Ten Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust to School. If you have a child with anxiety about school or separation anxiety you'll like her other article Preparing Your Child for the New School Year. She gives a lot of great advice on how to help your child bond with their teacher, the other students and work through separation anxiety.
Remedies for Anxiety
If your child is really nervous consider giving them Hyland's Calms Forte for Kids or Children's Rescue Remedy Drops starting a couple days before school and certainly on the day of. You can also slip some rescue remedy into their water bottle so they sip on it at lunch time. And don't forget to give some to yourself if you're feeling a little sad or nervous about your little one's going to school!