Can you believe that another summer is almost over!? Time sure does fly by these days.
For some parents, back-to-school time is a very exciting time of year! Also known as the “kids aren’t at home asking for snacks and telling me they are bored all day” time of year! YES!
Whether it is your child’s first year in school or they are on their way to middle school or beyond, the first few weeks of school can be a little bumpy. Often, because many parents have let bedtimes and sleep habits slip a bit throughout the summer. If you are one of these many parents, you may be wondering how to get things back on track. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
Here are my seven essential back-to-school sleep tips to get the school year off to a smooth start!
1. Start early
After a few months of late (and then sometimes even later) summer bedtimes, it is going to take some time to get your child’s snooze cycle back on track. Typically an earlier bedtime is necessary for the back-to-school season so kids get the sleep they need to best learn and thrive during the school year.
To help your child adjust, at least 2 weeks before school starts, start moving bedtimes back by 15 minutes every 3 nights or so.
2. Pick an appropriate (and early) bedtime and stick to it
A bedtime between 7:00 and 8:00 PM is where you want to be. If you are thinking that your child doesn’t get tired until 9:00 or 10:00 PM at night, let me stop you right there. Keep bedtime at 8:00 PM at the latest every night, I promise you will thank me later. If you think your child isn’t tired at that time – just give them some time to adjust (Go back to tip #1!).
School-aged kids at this age need 10-11 hours of sleep at night to help them be best able to get their learning on the next day. Sticking to this bedtime even on the weekends will help your child sleep well every night.
3. Set “No Screen Time” hours
Computer, TV, tablet, and phone screens all emit blue light which tricks our internal clock into thinking it is daytime! My advice is to power down those electronics at dinnertime (or at least 1 hour before bedtime) and keep them off until the next morning! Parents, this goes for you too – you will sleep so much better if you follow these boundaries as well.
4. Blame the timer
Using a timer can be a great way of deflecting the “blame” away from you. It’s not you saying screen time is over or it is time for bed, it is the timer! You can also make it a fun challenge to get ready (pajamas, brush teeth, etc.) before the timer goes off!
5. Same thing, same time, every night
Routine, routine, routine! Getting into a solid, consistent sleep routine is essential for kids of all ages (and adults, too!) Going through the same routine at the same time every night signals their brain that bedtime is approaching and their brain starts preparing for sleep.
6. Read before bed
Whether your child is reading on their own or you are reading to them, including reading in the bedtime routine is very helpful. It is a great way to wind down before going to sleep. The repetitive eye motion and low-level brain activity during
Plus, reading is always beneficial for our kids. Especially after long, summer days spent together, reading together at bedtime is great way to have some special quality time together during the transition back-to-school and during the school year when kids are away from us for a large majority of the day.
7. Keep it dark
Through September and even into October, the sun is still staying up late and getting up early. Make sure you have a good set of blackout curtains in your child’s room to block out the sun when it is time for sleep. This will help your child fall asleep easily and not wake with the early morning sun!
There you have it, seven strategies to start today to get your school year off to an uneventful and rested start!
If you need more help getting into a routine and helping your kids sleeping well before it is back-to-school time, book a free call with me today and we can get your kids on the path to sleeping well before school starts!
Cheers to healthy, happy sleep,