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Back to School/The Importance of Sleep

It is hard to believe that summer is over, where did it go? Our children are used to long sunny days, beach outings, family gatherings and late nights which naturally impact bedtime schedules. Now that school is back in session it is important to focus on reestablishing a solid sleep routine for our children.  School requires energy and focus which an adequate sleep schedule will support.  In an article published by the following are highlighted to help parents understand the importance of Sleep.
Did you know?
  • Sleep promotes growth
  • Sleep helps the heart
  • Sleep affects weight
  • Sleep helps beat germs
  • Sleep reduces injury risk
  • Sleep increases attention span
  • Sleep boosts learning
Let’s make sure our children get enough sleep and are as rested as much as possible to get through their days.  To help achieve the above, the article suggests  Building a Better Bedtimeby adapting the following as early as possible.
Encourage self-soothing
            Try not to let your infant fall asleep while eating, and put her to bed when she’s   still awake. By 3 months, you should slow your response time when she wakes up crying at night. By 6 months, when most babies typically sleep through the night, consider giving up the monitor if your room isn’t very far away. Or you can turn the volume down. You’ll be less tempted to rush to your fussing baby, and    she’ll be more likely to drift back to sleep on her own.
Create a solid routine
            Children should have a consistent bedtime ritual by 3 months that lasts no more than 30 to 40 minutes, bath included, says Dr. Mindell. And for kids up to age 10, make sure bedtime is before 9 p.m. “Children who go to bed after 9 p.m. take longer to fall asleep, wake more often at night, and get less sleep overall,” she  says. Dr. Durmer also suggests sticking with the usual bedtime sounds, like recorded ocean waves or a fan, and favorite sleep-time objects, such as a special blanket or pillow.
Set the stage for Sleep
            Try to maintain the same temperature and level of light in your child’s room, even when on vacation, says Dr. Durmer. Shut off screens too, because research is mounting about the light generated by computers and tablets: Just two hours of screen time right before bed is enough to lower levels of melatonin — a chemical that occurs naturally at night and signals sleep to the body — by 22 percent. Ditch devices after dinner.
Add another bedtime story
             You already know reading to kids helps them learn, but hearing storybooks is a    great way for kids to head off to dreamland. “Of all activities, reading printed books appears to be most relaxing,” says Michael Gradisar, a clinical psychologist at Flinders University, in Adelaide, Australia.
Run a sleep audit
            It makes sense to periodically measure your child’s sleep time, especially if you’re seeing trouble signs. (Alas, you’ll need to do it the old-fashioned way: Wearable trackers can make mistakes with anyone, but they’re especially   inaccurate on kids, who move around more in all stages of sleep. A study found     that one such device underestimated kids’ sleep by an average of 109 minutes.)
Sweet dreams and here’s to a restful healthy school year for our children!
To read the article in its entirety click on the link below

The joy and smiles of our children strengthen our commitment to a Montessori early childhood education. Westmont, an accredited school with the American Montessori Society (AMS) and Middle States Association (MSA-CESS), stands as one of the premier Montessori schools in NJ. We welcome you to discover Westmont.