Transitioning your child back to their school sleep schedule is really not that difficult as long as you focus on the key word: transitioning. That doesn’t mean the day before school starts or even the weekend before. Transition means taking slow and steady steps. We will explain.
Transitioning From Summer’s Carefree Lifestyle
We all do it, even parents. Summer is a time to chill and break routines, such as eating schedules, outside play activities, how long to stay in bed in the morning, what time to go to sleep at night, and more. Summertime is more relaxed and less rigid.
Once school is one month away, it’s time to make some changes, and pull things back in, and yes, transition.
Give Kids a Chance to Adjust
The sooner you tighten up the rules again, the sooner your children will adjust to the new school routine.
For example, if you want your little ones to go to sleep at 7:30, start changing their bedtime 3 weeks out by 20 to 30 minutes increments, and then reduce the time each week. That way by the week before school starts, they will be heading to bed at 7:30 (if that’s your goal). You just have to be consistent.
Older kids will be a bit later, but the same holds true.
At the same time, the morning routine will need to be adjusted. Start waking them earlier a few weeks before school starts so there will be no problem getting them up and out the door in time.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Sleep
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends the following sleep minimums for kids.
- Preschool kids need 10-13 hours of sleep each night (ages 3-5)
- School-age kids need 9-12 hours of sleep each night (ages 6-12)
- Teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night (ages 13-18)
Sufficient sleep helps provide kids the cognitive skills they need, eliminates fatigue during the day, helps them to concentrate and focus better, and enhances their physical and mental development like memory.
If your teen is not getting enough sleep, it’s probably not a good idea to let them drive to school. If your school-age child is not getting sufficient sleep on a regular basis, don’t be surprised if his or her grades decline.
How Parents Can Help
Certain non-negotiables can help your child readjust:
- Turn off all blue light devices at least one hour before bed. That includes all computers, hand held devices, phones, games, and the TV.
- Keep the temperature cool in the bedroom.
- Use curtains or black out blinds on the windows.
- Be sure your child is getting enough exercise during the day.
Best practice is to not deviate too much from sleep schedules during the summer.
Give your children all the tools they need for a successful and safe school year.