If you’re a family person, in the very near future, you may have the thankless job of dragging cranky kids out of bed for the first day of classes. Reduce the stress and give them a great start to the academic year by using these 10 tips to create a back-to-school sleep schedule:
Tip Number 1 – Avoid the Last Minute Turnaround
Get your child’s sleeping routine established well before the start of the school year. Two weeks ahead will give you time to slowly adjust bedtime and wake-up time until they are where you want them.
Tip Number 2 – Include Other Routines
Along with returning to a stricter bedtime routine, include other daytime patterns like mealtimes and chores. It sets the stage for changes that come when summer ends and school starts.
Tip Number 3 – Tire Them Out
Children need exercise to stay healthy, but it can also tire them out so that they are ready to sleep. Be careful not to encourage it too late in the day, or it may have the opposite effect.
Tip Number 4 – Weekends Do Not Exist
Avoid the temptation to use the weekend as a “catch up” time for sleep. Instead, stick to the established routine. It will keep the momentum going for a good schedule that provides plenty of rest.
Tip Number 5 – Wind Them Down
Create a relaxing bedtime routine that calms your child and gets them ready to sail off to dreamland. Encourage “quiet time,” read a story together, include a warm bath, or talk quietly about the day.
Tip Number 6 – Lead by Example
If you don’t take sleep seriously, your child probably won’t either. Make sure you keep a good sleep schedule and model how adequate rest makes your life easier and more productive.
Tip Number 7 – Monitor Foods
Heavy meals and unsettling foods may make it more difficult for your child to fall asleep. Avoid these, along with caffeine, too close to bedtime. For some children, caffeine is a problem after midday.
Tip Number 8 – Create a Sleep Haven
Create an atmosphere in your child’s bedroom that encourages sleep. Make sure the bed and temperature are comfortable. Set up and store electronics in a different part of the home.
Tip Number 9 – Ditch the Devices
Turn off or put away the electronics an hour before bedtime to reduce the effect on sleep. Develop a routine of shutting them down and putting them in a special place each evening to make it a habit.
Tip Number 10 – Don’t Stress Out
Children encounter plenty of anxiety when the new school year starts, even if they are excited about it. Reduce stress as much as possible in your home and encourage them to talk about fears, so they sleep better.
Use these 10 tips to establish a back-to-school sleep schedule that will give your child the advantage needed for a successful start and finish to the academic year.