Break that holiday after months of sleeping i n late, a jarring back- to- school morning routine can wreak havoc on the i nternal body clock of both parents and kids. but the good news i s there are ways to avoid i t
Sleep is important; just ask anyone who doesn’t get enough. Not only does a good night of sleep help our body repair and restore itself, it consolidates memories and is the time when our brain processes new i nformation. Which means this is especially important for children who are growing and learning at a fast rate. Even one hour of sleep deprivation can reduce performance in memory and cognitive tests as well as concentration levels for the following day — which is why it’s important to ensure your little one starts off his or her new school term on the right note.
“Reduced sleep time as well as poor quality of sleep can impact both physical and mental development of youngsters,” says Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, consultant neuropsychiatrist and medical direct or of London Sleep Centre, Dubai. “Body clocks cannot readjust overnight, and if you try and ask a child to suddenly go to bed earlier than they have been, you are likely to face arguments and tantrums. They will then have to wake early for school the following morning, meaning that they will be severely sleep deprived for their first day back.”
With a new season of school fast approaching, it’s imperative to gradually change your child’s sleeping pattern. Ensure that your kids are getting enough sleep ( that’s 11- 13 hours for kids aged three- five, 10- 11 hours for those aged six- 11 and 8.5- 10 for those aged 12- 18). According to Dr Ebrahim, the process to change a sleep cycle should start a few weeks before the big day. Here, he lists out some simple ways to get your kid up and ready for a brand new school season.
*It helps to set clear rules.
It’s back to school in 2 weeks — FS2 for my eldest while my twins will start FS1 at Horizon. I'm trying to help them get back to the school routine by getting them excited about a new semester. This involves letting them choose their own new school bags, water bottles, lunch boxes, school shoes and uniform. They all know the names of the classes they will be joining but I'm not sure if the twins understand that they will be separated in class as per school policy. I have explained this to them but, for now, they are just excited about meeting new friends, playing and swimming in the school's large swimming pool! Danielle Wilson Naqvi, co- founder and MD at Sassymamadubai. com
While it’s important to make the rules for your kids, remember that back- to- school can be hard on mums and dads too. Dr Ebrahim lists out some tips to help parents get back into the routine too.
My two- year- old son’s normal schedule has him waking up at 6- 6: 30am. His dad usually drops him to nursery around 8 am. I pick him up at 5pm and we play, have snacks or swim. But whatever happens, he is in bed by 8- 8.30 pm. We always have busy weekends but are careful to maintain the same routine as that of the weekdays. We are actually in our home country, Uzbekistan, Tashkent city, right now, but even then, I am following Dubai time for our little one. As soon as he wakes up, he has his morning routine, such as teeth brushing and breakfast, then we head to empty parks or zoo to make him tired for afternoon nap time. Zoos and parks are empty because most kids are in summer camps ( in Tashkent, camps are located in mountains and kids live there for the entire summer — parents only visit them). We head home for his afternoon nap, then go out again to the same zoo and parks ( the staff of the parks know us very well now). Both me and my hubby also draw, paint and make animals out of playdough since these activities were done back in nursery all the time. I think my little one is now having a blast because whenever we ask him if he wants to go back to nursery, he replies with a big ‘ No’.
Nilufar Abdugafarova, blogger at Dubai Mommy’s Journey