"Come to Me...I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
As we start to get ready for the beginning of a new school year, we are stocking up on crayons and pencils and paints and markers. We're fine-tuning our lesson plans and prayerfully preparing for our students. You are probably purchasing school clothes and shoes to replace everything your child has outgrown. And many of you may be counting down the days until you are back into the school routine.
Here's the secret though: don't make the mistake of assuming a "school routine" will come naturally to your child. Summertime is inherently full of looser schedules and somewhat slippery sleep habits. With so much daylight and so many fun activities to enjoy, very few families stick to a strict sleep schedule during the summer. And that's fine! Summer is fun and lazy and busy all at the same time. Baths get missed, travel disrupts sleep patterns, screen time sneaks into your days more and more; this is all normal.
But now we are just a few weeks away from school starting, and it is time to get back to a proper sleep pattern for the whole family. We CANNOT stress enough how critical it is for you to begin this process now. Poor sleep habits are, by far, one of the most significant difficulties our students face. Within a week or two of school, we can usually tell which children are getting proper, consistent, healthy sleep. Those who are not getting the right amount of sound sleep often struggle with:
Of course, no parent wishes that for their child. So let's take a look at the "how" and "why" of good sleep patterns so you have a plan you can implement with confidence.
As the scripture reference above reminds us, our oh-so-important spiritual and emotional rest is in Jesus. But our physical rest is vital too, and Jesus himself proved that in Mark 6:31 when he called the disciples to come with Him for some rest, away from from the crowds. Our bodies need sleep, and sleep is particularly crucial for our little ones with their growing bodies and brains.
Today is the time to get those habits started. When school starts in September, you will be so thankful that this part of your routine is already in place. And the teachers will be thankful too!