Start a Back-To-School Sleep Schedule in 3 Easy Steps
As summer winds to an end and all us parents are counting the days until school starts, one thing that may be on your mind (other than backpacks, school lunches and FREEDOM) is sleep. If your schedule has been turned a bit upside down with vacation and later summer bedtimes, now is the time to start up a back-to-school sleep plan.
A good nights sleep is imperative for everyone, but especially important for your growing children. Sleep is when all that information that gets inputted during the day is processed and retained. Sleep is essential for mood, impulse management, concentration and decision-making and it even helps your child fight off those nasty back-to-school germs!
Now that we have determined that a good nights sleep is essential, how do you go about getting your child back on track for school?
- Establish Bedtime
Set a time for your child to be asleep so he is getting the recommended sleep for his age. Children aged 3-5 years, need an average of 11-13 hours of sleep at night and children aged 6-13 need approximately 9-11 hours. Based on these times, most children should be in bed between 7 and 8pm.
Start slowly moving bedtime back in 15 minute increments until you have reached the appropriate bedtime for your child in time for school to start.
- Consistent Routines
One thing that can be counted on is that during the school day, your child will have a consistent routine at school and it should be the same at home. Children do very well with routines and not only does it provide stability and dependability, but it also helps to set their daily body rhythms.
Have a consistent bedtime routine and morning routine that closely resembles what your day will look like when the kids are back to school. Make sure to shut-off electronics at least an hour before bed to stop the light from interfering with melatonin levels.
- Start Early Mornings
It is important to set your child’s “morning clock” so their bodies can get used to waking earlier and essentially shift their sleep schedule earlier. Set your alarm and start waking your kids at the time they will have to wake for school. Open those curtains to let in the light as you say your “good morning”.
I have to admit that I really look forward to the excitement of back to school, cool fall days and pumpkin lattes, but I recognize that some of you may mourn the loss of summer. For all you summer lovers out there, at least you can look forward to a bit more time for yourself in the evenings, even if it is spent making school lunches.