Sleep cy­cle!

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

WKND - - Back To School -

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

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