How to Get Your Child Back on a Sleep Schedule for School

How to Get Your Child Back on a Sleep Schedule for School

Can you believe it’s that time of year already?! Summer is coming to an end and fall is slowly creeping in. Schools are starting to open backup and kids are getting ready to get back in the classroom. Sleep habits and routines can often fall by the wayside during the summer. Whether you’re traveling, spending more time with friends and family, or simply staying home, kids often don’t follow as strict of a schedule during the summertime as they do during the school year. Once the first day of school is on the horizon, it is a great time to get started thinking about getting your child back on schedule and some structure back in their routine in preparation for back to school. Below I’ve got 10 tips that you can start using now to get your kiddo ready for school, back on schedule and set up for academic success!

How to Get Your Child Back on a Sleep Schedule for School

  1. Start 2 Weeks Before School Starts – I know the start of school can creep up on you, before you know it school is starting in a few days! Try to keep an eye on the start date and get your child back into a routine a week or two before the first day of school. It will be so hard on your kiddo (and you!) to go from having no routine or set bedtime/wake up time to getting up early and having earlier bedtimes every day. Try easing into things by adjusting their bedtime by 10-20 minutes earlier each day until they reach their ideal bedtime and are getting the right amount of sleep.
  2. Wake Kids Up Earlier – It sounds crazy I know, we all get used to sleeping in during the lazy days of summer. It is so nice to let your kids sleep and you can enjoy the quiet house to yourself in the mornings… but it’s time to start waking them up. Follow the same idea I mentioned above, instead of waking them up at their normal school day time right away, ease into things by waking them up 10-20 minutes earlier each day until you reach their ideal wake up time. 
  3. Go To Bed Earlier – This one is so hard during the summer! Going to bed when it’s daylight out is so hard for kids, but so needed at the same time! Start moving bedtime up earlier a little each night so that your kiddo can get the appropriate hours of sleep each night without having to sleep in late. Doing all of these timing adjustments slowly and subtly will help adjust your child’s internal clock and get them back on their school sleep schedule in no time. 
  4. Create a Nightly Routine – Routine might just be the most common thing you’ll find me talk about on any blog post! Routine is key for any person of any age, especially when it comes to sleep. Having a good bedtime routine signals your brain that sleep is near and it’s time to wind down. Routines don’t have to be long and complex. A good bedtime routine can be as simple as brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, reading a book and tucking in for bed. Doing these simple tasks each night will start to wind your child down and let them know that it’s time for bed. 
  5. Pick Out School Clothes the Night Before – I love doing this as an adult! It takes the guesswork out of what to wear in the mornings and really cuts back on the time it takes to get ready. It is so good for kids too and you can even work it into their bedtime routine. Pick a spot in their room where you and your child can set their outfit out each night. This incorporates them into the process, and they’ll know where their clothes are each morning when it’s time to get dressed. 
  6. Put Away Electronics – This one may be difficult, but putting away electronics before bed will help your child wind down so much easier. Instead of an electronic device, try a puzzle, coloring, reading or another activity that is quiet and relaxing. 
  7. No Screens 30 Minutes Before Bed – This goes hand in hand with the tip above, but eliminating all screens or anything with blue light before bedtime will lead to a more restful night sleep. –This goes out to you too, parents! As hard as it is, put the phone away before bed 😉 – Avoiding blue lights before bed not only helps you sleep better, but it helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 
  8. Not Drinking Too Close to Bedtime – We all know what happens when your kiddo drinks too much before bed. Lots of trips to the bathroom or accidents waiting to happen! Try to eliminate snacks and drinks 30 minutes or so before bed, and make sure they make one final trip to the bathroom before laying down (this is a great one to work into their bedtime routine!)
  9. Relax Before Bed – Since we’re avoiding screens before bed, try something new instead! A few relaxing ideas to try out before bed time can be reading together, small crafts, listening to relaxing music, or even listening to a story. If your kiddo is having a hard time giving up bedtime TV, try putting a short audiobook on for them to listen to. It’s a great way to wind down without them having to focus on a screen. Also, try to keep any physical activity earlier in the day and before it’s time to wind down for bed. We all know how kids can easily get riled up by running around and it makes it harder for them to calm and relax.
  10. Create a Relaxing Sleep Space – This can be such a fun way to end summer and get ready for the new school year! It doesn’t have to cost a lot but it can be just enough of a change to excite your kiddo for bed! Try changing up something small in their room, whether it be a new bedspread, new throw blanket or maybe even new curtains. Find something small you can do to make their room seem extra relaxing and inviting and get them excited for bedtime and a good nights sleep!

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