It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right? Well for those of us whose little ones are heading back to school, there is definitely some excitement over getting back into regular schedules, routines and most importantly, regular (and hopefully early!) bedtimes.
As my boys get older, it gets easier to get off course in the summer time. There are bbqs and parties and friends playing outside much later because it is still light out. As much as I want them in bed at a decent hour I want them to enjoy their summer with a bit of flexibility.
As a sleep consultant I am very aware that getting back on track is not an easy task, nor does it happen overnight. If your child is going to school for the first time this year you may not be aware of how much sleep will affect your child throughout their school day. It is a big adjustment for them that will be so much easier if they have had enough sleep!
Here are some tips to get your child ready for their big day!
- Don’t wait until the night before school to get your kids to bed early. 8:00 is the absolute latest I would recommend a child under 10 years old goes to bed but if they have been staying up later it will be an adjustment for them and it should happen gradually. Give it at least a week. Slowly bring down your child’s bedtime each night until you get them to the appropriate bedtime. This way you won’t have as much protest from them and they will have an easier adjustment.
- Have them start getting up at the time you want them to now. Gradually start waking them close to the time they need to get up for school so it isn’t such a shock to them on their first day. This may be a tough one for moms and dads who have been enjoying a little later start to their days over the summer as well, but you will thank me for it in a few weeks!
- Make sure your child’s room is really dark. It isn’t going to be easy to get them to bed early when it is still so bright out at bedtime.
- Have a good bedtime routine inside their bedroom with the windows covered. Some quiet, cuddly time with a book before bed is a great way to transition from the day’s activities to going to sleep
- Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed. This is a great chance for your kids to power down and read some books. Buying some new books geared toward their new grade can be a great incentive for them to give up their devices before bed.
Back to school is never an easy adjustment for kids or for parents. Making sure your little ones are getting enough quality sleep is going to make that adjustment so much smoother. Enjoy these last few days. We will be missing them in a few months!
Jillian is the founder of Sleep Wise Infant and Toddler Sleep Consulting and can be reached for a FREE 15 minute phone consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org