For toddlers and preschoolers, bedtime is often the most challenging part of the day. It means another transition and separation from parents, at the same time everyone in the household is frazzled! Setting up a calm, loving, and predictable bedtime routine is one of the best ways to make sure that your child (and you) gets enough sleep.
The benefits of adequate sleep for children are many. Well-rested kids:
Go to sleep faster-An overtired child can be an overactive child due to increased cortisol levels. Sleep begets sleep.
Behave better-Sleep deprived children are more likely to have intense temper tantrums and have difficulty getting along with peers.
Have increased attention and learning-One study showed that 2/3 of kids deprived of sleep met the clinical diagnosis for ADHD. If being deprived of sleep leads to a drop in attention, children may miss out on learning and on opportunities to be creative. And if they are easily irritated and frustrated because their bodies and brains are tired, they may not learn as much either.
Adding or changing a bedtime routine can be hard, but involving your child in the process can make it go more smoothly. Nancy Buck, a developmental psychologist, suggests finding a relaxed time, such as Saturday morning, to talk about upcoming changes in a non-blaming way. For example, “Bedtime is consistently unpleasant and seems to regularly turn into an argument. Let’s see if we can create a plan to solve this ongoing problem.”
This gives your child an opportunity to choose quiet activities they would enjoy to wind down, whether it be stories or coloring or a bath every night. Once the ideal bedtime routine is in place, be consistent but somewhat flexible; if one night your child would like a puzzle before bed then change it up! As long as the essential elements of a bedtime routine stay in place, children are more likely to get adequate sleep.
The following illustrates some steps in beneficial routines. Yours can be anything that works for you and your child:
Leave at least an hour for quiet-play and the bedtime routine. Roughhousing, running, playing tickling games, and even watching TV shows or videos make peaceful transition to sleep especially difficult.
Offer a small low-sugar protein snack one hour before bed such as turkey and cheese or plain yogurt with berries. The protein really does help your child fall asleep and stay asleep!
Turn down the heat and lights to promote relaxation, maybe even play soft music.
Use the bathroom, brush teeth, and change in to PJs while singing songs or talking about your day.
Read stories, listen to an audiobook or a sleep story-together. When parents are emotionally available at night their child will feel more secure and go to sleep easier and faster.
What works for your family? Share in the Comments!
Wendy A Hall, Elizabeth Nethery. What does Sleep Hygiene have to offer Children’s Sleep Problems? Paediatric Respiratory Reviews, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.prrv.2018.10.005
Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Lability and Impulsivity; Reut Gruber, Jamie Cassoff, Sonia Frenette, Sabrina Wiebe, Julie Carrier
Dr. Laura Markham, The Importance of Bedtime Routines
How to Develop a Bedtime Routine, Parents Magazine Online
West, Kim (2009) The Sleep Lady®’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy
“Yum, I love this soup! Can I have a second bowl?”
Our four-year olds LOVED the Chicken Tikka Masala served at lunch yesterday. Our Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Kraig, prepared the meal ‘deconstructed’ so the children could enjoy the meal their own way. At Foundations, teachers and children eat lunch family style. The food is served in bowls or on platters and passed around the table. The teacher eats with the children and socializes with them, similar to the way a family might eat together at home. The practice of family style meals is widely encouraged in early care and education. Why is this?
Researchers have found many long-term benefits of family-style meals; the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), High-Scope, and the National School Nutrition Program (CAFCP), all consider meal-time as a required part of the curriculum. “Snack and mealtimes provide daily opportunities to demonstrate the program philosophy in a visible way through the practices of participatory learning and authentic conversations that build relationships between children and adults (GSRP Implementation Manual, 2017). Some of the benefits include:
Children learn and practice social and motor skills such as sharing, passing, pouring, and turn taking.
Children have control over which foods and what size portion they wish to consume. Being allowed to eat based on their own hunger level helps children learn self-regulation and understand the sense of fullness.
Children are encouraged to try new foods by seeing other children and adults eating them. This sets up a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
Messes are a part of family-style meals; children learn that mistakes happen and they act responsibly while helping to clean up.
When your child is in a child care setting, you want them to feel safe and secure. At Foundations, our teachers strive to make meal times a fun learning experience so children see themselves as part of their child care “family”. Serving daily meals family style helps children learn the routine and manners that go with mealtimes, while continuing to build up children’s self-esteem and sense of belonging to a nurturing community.
At Foundations Preschool, we prioritize outside play year-round. Play, especially outdoor play, is critical to a preschooler’s development. As Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research!” The best part of learning through play, is that children don’t even know they are:
• Developing Cognitive skills – How does ice feel? How does this herb taste?
• Strengthening Physical Abilities-What happens if I pedal faster? Why do we slide down instead of up?
• Building New Vocabulary-What is this plant? What type of bird is that?
Practicing Social Skills-Who’s turn is it on the swing? How do I know if someone wants to play with me?
Outdoor play provides health benefits as well. Studies at Stanford University have found that even 5 minutes in nature can improve a child’s ability to self-regulate and pay attention. In 2014, a study at University of Colorado showed that children’s exposure to green outdoor spaces helped decrease their stress levels by offering an escape from life’s daily routine. Outdoor play enables children to ‘recharge their batteries’ by taking part in very different activities from the classroom experience.
Outdoor play allows children to be children! Some of our favorite childhood memories are outdoor activities. Using open space to fulfill basic childhood needs—jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding,
and making a big mess—is what childhood is all about!
As winter is upon us here in Michigan, we are looking forward to snow balls and icicles. “Just remember that bad weather always looks worse through a window.” – Tom Lehrer
Foundations Preschool is the best choice for your money! We’re one of the highest rated schools while staying affordable for working parents. Our teachers and staff are always doing what’s best for your child. We know that each child has different needs and interests.
We welcome Great Start students, but if you are not eligible for that program, we accept DHHS and Child Care Network funding as well as providing tuition scholarships. We believe that all children should receive a quality start to their education, no matter their parent’s income.
Parents can’t always take time away from work. We provide on-site speech therapists and social workers. We have on-site dental, hearing and vision screenings so that you don’t need to take time away to schedule these visits. We take pride in being able to identify as early as possible your child’s needs.
Our school chef is a nutrition and fitness specialist. He creates balanced, delicious meals for our students, and plans weekly physical activities. Every day your child is served two full meals plus snacks. These are included in the cost of tuition, and saves you time because you do not need to pack food for them. Your kids are active while they are at school – working their bodies as well as their minds!
Welcome to Days of Discovery – our fun in the sun summer program for ages 2 yrs 9 mos – 6 yrs old.
Your camper will enjoy a summer of discovery at Foundations Preschool of Washtenaw County! This 10-week summer program runs from June 18–August 23, where each week’s activities are full of fun and learning.
Kids will explore three large outdoor playgrounds with gardening beds and water play areas. On-site “field trips” bring music, science and art to the children.
The absolute LOWEST RATES based on a sliding scale. DHHS is accepted. No extra fees for extended hours (open 7am – 6pm) and all meals and snacks are provided.
Week 1: Dinosours!
Week 2: Nature
Week 3: Super Heroes
Week 4: The Beach
Week 5: Red, White and Blue
Week 6: Pirates
Week 7: Science
Week 8: My Community
Week 9: Animals
Week 10: Space Exploration
We accept children ages 2 years and 9 months through 4 years, at time of your enrollment.
If your child will be 4 years old before September 1, 2018 [CLICK HERE]
There is currently a “single point of entry” for all subsidized preschool programs (GSRP and Head Start) within Washtenaw County (Foundations Preschool runs a GSRP program.) You must follow these steps to apply to Foundations Preschool School. This is for enrollment in the state funded GSRP Program (begins in September 2018).