Back-to-school time can be exciting for students, parents and teachers. After a long summer break, it can be difficult to get your children back into a structured sleep routine. Sleep is essential to their health, so having a consistent schedule will improve their mood, ability to focus, energy and success in school. Keep reading to find some helpful tips for managing your family’s sleep routine this season.
Gradually introduce the new sleep routine
- It’s important to start introducing earlier bedtimes and a more structured sleep routine prior to the start of the school year, so your child is not overwhelmed by the abrupt change to their schedule. Making gradual adjustments leading up to the start of school will help them ease back into better habits.
- When introducing the new bedtime to your child, have them start going to bed 15 to 20 minutes earlier, so it’s not as drastic of a change and allows them to get used to this new routine. You can do this over the course of a week or two until you reach the desired bedtime you have set. It’s important for elementary students to get around 10-12 hours of sleep, and for high school students to get around 9-11 hours.
Make it a routine for everyone in the house
- Having all the children on the same sleep schedule will help promote better sleep hygiene for your household and give you less pushback from some of the younger kids when trying to enforce this routine.
Encourage after-school activities
- Involving your child in after-school activities, such as participating in a sport or club, is important so that they remain active and burn off their energy before bedtime. Getting plenty of exercise and not napping in the afternoons will tire them and allow them to fall asleep easier, at their designated bedtime. If this isn't an option, just planning small activities around your house will be helpful too!
- Children require a lot of consistency within their schedules. It’s important to keep them in a routine even on the weekends to help their body naturally get used to the schedule.
Example of a bedtime routine
- 6:45 – shower/bathe, get pajamas on and brush teeth
- 7:15 – quiet time without electronics (this could include reading or quiet play)
- 7:30 – lights out and time for sleep
A sleep routine can be difficult to implement but will be very beneficial for their growth and development. Your child’s bedtime routine doesn’t need to be complicated and may only require 2-3 steps. Those small steps will really help your child adjust, especially when it’s time to go back to school.