Tips for Back to School Sleep Schedule

Sounds crazy, but for some, school is less than a week away.  For our kiddies, this means it’s time to get serious.  For us parents, it’s time to get started adjusting our children’s sleep schedules, ensuring they are well rested for the first day of school and beyond.

Easier said than done but no need to stress yourself out.  Check out my segment filled with tips to help you make it happen and more detailed information below.

Additional Tips

  • How did the schedule get so out of whack in the first place?
    • Little by little our kids went to bed later and later as the summer days went by.
    • Eventually they learned to sleep later because after a while, their body needed the rest.
    • There were less obligations and a less hectic schedule over the summer for everyone.
  • When should you start sleep training our children?
    • Now if you haven’t already.
    • The key is use these last few non-school weeks wisely.
    • Getting your kids back on a normal sleep schedule, whatever that means to your family, is a gradual and slow change, so the sooner the better.
  • Why is sleep training necessary?
    • If your kids have become accustomed to going to bed at 10:00 this summer, but are expected to head to bed at 8:00 during the school year, there’s work to be done.
    • If we do nothing to get our kids back on track, they will end up like zombies at their desks.
    • This will affect their learning and their concentration capabilities, their social skills and their overall mood.
    • Not a good way to start off the school year.
    • According to the National Sleep Foundation, Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and children aged six to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep.
  • How do we get our kids back on schedule?
    • The key is to gradually change their sleep schedule.
    • Every night, put your children to bed 15 minutes earlier than the night before.
    • It may seem like an insignificant amount of time but if not done this way, your kids will restlessly toss and turn for hours.
    • Adults are a good example, i.e. I go to sleep at 11:30/12:00 every night so if I forced myself to go to sleep at 9:00, I would stare at a wall for hours.
    • If there has been an inconsistent sleep schedule all summer long, meaning one night was 11:00, one night was 9:30, etc. set a time schedule for the whole week and work with the 15 minute increments.
    • Do not allow electronics or TV right before bedtime.
    • Instead focus on cuddling, reading, sharing memories of the summer, etc.
    • If your kids are complaining they are not tired, and they will, it is okay to let them read in bed, if they are old enough to do so.
    • It’s all about a quiet and serene environment at night.
    • Shift your whole day’s schedule, not just your night schedule.
    • Waking up, meals, bath time, etc. should start shifting earlier.
    • If dinner is still at 7:30 like it has been all summer, you cannot expect the kids to be ready for bed at 8:00.
  • How can parents prepare themselves to help with the whole process and transition?
    • Patience!
    • Realize it is a lot, especially for the younger ones to adjust.
    • Know that it won’t happen over night but it will happen with consistency.
    • Realize it may be hard for the kids to go to sleep when it is still so light out but let them know that will change soon.
    • Placing something over the window shades, such as a dark sheet may help.
    • As parents, we need to be tolerant of any behavioral changes during this process.
    • Understand that your children will be tired and cranky after the first week of school.
    • Regardless of how sleep trained they are, emotionally, they are getting themselves back into a more serious vibe and state, realizing that the fun times of summer are now over.
    • Send the right message to your child that playtime is over and now it is time to get serious.
    • Stick with your plan and don’t give in.