Thursday, 27 August 2020

The Importance of a Good Sleep Routine

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The past six months or so have been really strange for us all. When lockdown restrictions came into force, we went from going to school and work to being taught at home and being put on furlough. I basically became a home educator overnight!



If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I posted about our daily homeschooling through Instagram stories. I knew right from the beginning that I wanted to stick to a routine because when things got back to normal, or as normal as they can be now, it would be hard to get back into the swing of things again.


I drew up and printed a timetable for the living room wall for both children so that they knew what to expect from the day. It really helped that the school teachers communicated with us each morning with a rough timetable too. We started our days with PE with Joe, releasing endorphins and getting us "pumped", as my almost eight-year-old son would say, for the rest of the day.


Having these timetables eliminated the element of surprise, reducing their stress and it is something that I was keen to stick to mostly because my son is autistic. With a routine, we could keep his day as easy as possible. The "school" day would finish around 2.00pm so they were free to play and do as they pleased until the bedtime wind down.


Again, I wanted to keep this consistent because if I didn't, getting up for school in the mornings come September would be a shock to the system if bedtimes were all over the place in the summer. I am back to work now too so there are days where they need to get up early to stay with grandparents while both my partner and I are at work.


C and E are 7 and 5 respectively, and although they are not babies, a bedtime routine was and still is really important to us. We eat dinner around 5.30pm and afterwards they will take baths. I will allow screens or TV time for one child while the other is taking their bath but afterwards, all screens are off. From past experience, they find it very hard to shut their brains off at the end of the day if they have been playing on tablets or watching TV right up until they go to bed.


They can then choose whether they would like to play with toys (LOL Surprise dolls are usually E's choice) or read a book quietly on their own (this is usually C's choice). They will then have a glass of milk before brushing their teeth and flossing.



For the time being, they are sharing a bedroom with bunk beds so we will all go upstairs, and I will read a story to the both of them before it is lights out. This brings us to around 8.30pm. 


Keeping to my own bedtime routine is important too, especially if I am working the next day. We actually purchased a new bed and mattress at the end of March, right at the beginning of lockdown, spending a lot of time deciding which base was best and consulting a mattress size guide to visualise what would fit into the space we had. We ended up settling on a divan with a tall mattress so we spent the first week or so feeling a little queasy as it was so high off the ground!


I am an avid reader, so I use the screen rule for myself too. I'll more than likely fall asleep in the middle of a chapter or drop my Kindle on my face because I've nodded off. I don't include the Kindle under the screen umbrella as I can adjust the brightness!


Not having bright screen in our faces, getting the recommended eight hours of sleep and sleeping on comfortable beds mean that we are all feeling refreshed and raring to go in the mornings.


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