School holidays sleep routines important

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There are lots of positives that come with school holidays but hand-in-hand with the holidays comes irregular sleep, which can have impact children’s behaviours and abilities to operate well at school.

Little preschool kid boy sleeping in bed with colorful lamp. School child dreaming and holding plush toy. Kid angry of darkness.
Sleep expert Dr Alex Agostini says a good sleep routine is vital for children.

UniSA researcher and sleep expert, Dr Alex Agostini, says a good sleep routine is important for children’s emotional, physical and mental health, especially post the school holidays.

“A good night’s sleep is important for kids. Research shows that good sleep helps them regulate their emotions and concentrate. Sleep also helps to regulate the hormones that initiate hunger – which helps children eat at the right time and function better throughout the day.”

Dr Agostini says it’s best to ease your child back into the school schedule by changing their bedtimes and sleep routines over a week or so before school so that their body can gradually adjust. Tips include: moving your child’s bedtime five or 10 minutes earlier each night, and waking them slightly earlier each day as this will help them feel tired enough to go to sleep on time.

“A good sleep routine helps the body learn when it’s time to go to sleep. For school-aged kids, this could include a warm bath or shower, followed by a book in bed, but it can be different for each child. Getting kids involved in designing their own pre-sleep wind-down routines will help them feel more in charge and should help improve adherence to the new night-time schedules.”

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