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 back up 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 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’s a great time to start thinking about getting your child back into a routine in preparation for back to school. Below I’ve got 10 sleep tips that you can start using now to get your child back on a sleep schedule for school!
How to Get Your Child Back on a Sleep Schedule for School
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 being on a sleep schedule for school. Try easing into things by setting their bedtime 10-20 minutes earlier each day until they reach their ideal bedtime and are getting the right amount of sleep.
Wake Kids Up Earlier
It sounds crazy I know- we all get used to sleeping in during the lazy days of summer. It’s so nice to let your kids sleep in so you can enjoy the quiet house to yourself in the mornings… but it’s time for them to wake up earlier. Follow the same idea I mentioned above- instead of waking them up at their normal school daytime right away, ease into things and wake up your kids 10-20 minutes earlier each day until you reach their ideal wake-up time.
Go To Bed Earlier
This one is so hard during the summer! Going to bed when there’s daylight out is so hard for kids, but so needed at the same time! Start moving bedtime up a little earlier each night so that your kiddo can get the appropriate hours of sleep without having to sleep in late. Slowly and subtly making these time adjustments will help to avoid bedtime resistance, adjust your child’s internal clock, and get them back on a sleep schedule for school in no time.
Create a Nightly Routine
A routine will be life-changing to develop healthy sleep habits and get on a sleep schedule for school. 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.
Pick Out School Clothes the Night Before
I love this nighttime habit as an adult! It takes the guesswork out of what to wear in the mornings and cuts back on the time it takes to get ready. It’s 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 clothes out every night. This incorporates them into the process, and they’ll know where their clothes are each morning when it’s time to get dressed.
Put Away Electronics
This one may be difficult, but putting away electronics before bed will help your child wind down so much easier. Electronics are super stimulating and will keep your child awake for much longer. Instead of an electronic device, try a puzzle, coloring, reading, or another activity that is quiet and relaxing.
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’s sleep. This goes out to you too, parents! As hard as it is, put the phone away before bed. 😉 Blue lights mess with your circadian rhythm, making falling asleep that much harder. Avoiding screens before bed not only helps you sleep better, but it helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Not Drinking Too Close to Bedtime
We all know what happens when your kiddo drinks too much before bed. Lots of waking up, 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!).
Relax Before Bed
Since we’re avoiding screens before bed, try something new instead! A few ideas to help your child become sleepy are reading together, doing 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 on a short audiobook 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 down and relax.
Create a Relaxing Sleep Space
This can be such a fun way to end summer and get on a sleep schedule for school! 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, a new throw blanket, or maybe even new curtains. These 35 toddler sleep products can help them go to sleep easier and wake up well-rested. Find something small you can do to make their room seem extra relaxing and inviting and get them excited for bedtime and a good night’s sleep!
I hope these tips have been helpful to get your child back on a sleep schedule for school. If your toddler is struggling with naps, going to sleep, or overnight wakeups, check out my week-long Toddler Sleep Bootcamp to help the whole family get better sleep.
Check out my one-on-one sleep support packages if you need some help sleep training your little one. I also offer 30-minute consult calls to help your unique family find the solution to better rest. Follow me on Instagram for more updates!