It's that time of year again! Time to stock up on the loose-leaf paper, Lisa Frank folders, trapper-keepers, pencils boxes, and scented markers. Most parents with school-age children typically look forward to getting their kiddos back on a solid routine. Some of you; however, may be wondering how you are going to tame the crazy sleep schedules that have developed over the summer months. Take a deep breath, I have got you covered. Here are some tips that will help ease your child back into a normal, school-based schedule and help them get the quality rest they need to excel in the classroom and actually be pleasant to be around.
1. Return to the School-Based Sleep Schedule 1-2 Weeks Before School Starts. Every night, set an incrementally earlier bedtime, and every morning, an incrementally earlier wake-up time. Make sure that when school starts, they'll wake up with the amount of sleep they need for their age-group. I have created a bedtime chart that will help determine what time your child should go to bed based on (1) their age, (2) recommended hours of sleep, and (3) what time they need to be up in the morning. (Subscribe to my newsletter below for this helpful tool).
2. Bedtime Routine. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine that takes 30-45 minutes to complete. Be consistent every night.
3. Set a Screen Time / Gadget Curfew. Try to avoid any screen time 1-2 hours before bed. I typically encourage my families with older kids to have them plug their phones in the kitchen to decrease the temptation to be Snap chatting their friends all night. (Kids these days!)
4. Create a Sleep Sanctuary. Keep the room very dark, ensure they have a comfortable bed, and keep the temperature between 65-67 degrees for quality sleep.
5. Stick to the Schedule. Once your children's sleep schedules have been established, try to stick with them. Don't allow them to get too off track on the weekends.
6. Avoid caffeine. I typically recommend avoiding any caffeine 6 hours before bedtimes as the caffeine can interrupt the natural sleep patterns.
7. Bedtime Snack. Avoid sugary snacks before bed. Try to provide your kiddo with a healthy fat and some protein to keep their tummies full throughout the night.
8. Practice What You Preach. Set a good example by prioritizing your own sleep and become a home that promotes healthy sleep.
Setting these bedtime expectations can be difficult, but be consistent and your child will catch on. If you run into problems and you start seeing any deterioration in your child’s attention, mood, grades, or behaviors, please call me. I am here to help humans of all ages get quality sleep and offer Free 15-min Sleep Assessments via phone. Now through Labor Day, I'm offering 10% off any of my pediatric sleep plans. Now, off to bed!