Many of us are preparing for the first day of school for the 2017/2018 school year. Myself included! My son is headed to Kindergarten. Back to school clothes, school supplies, filling out forms, and planning carpools are taking priority. One thing many parents may forget to prepare for is how going back to school will affect their child’s sleep. In addition, to your school age children’s sleep being affected, your babies and toddlers may be affected by the change in schedule as well. Below are some tips to help transition everyone from the sometimes chaotic summer schedule to a back to school schedule that will benefit everyone!
- Slowly bring bedtime earlier. Depending on the amount of change needed, start at least 1-2 weeks prior to school starting. Begin transitioning to the appropriate bedtime and wake-up time incrementally. Every could of days wake your child up 15 minutes earlier and get them in bed 15 minutes earlier until you reach your desired schedule.
- Re-stablish your bedtime routine. Children need some quiet time to wind down before going to bed. The routine may include a bath, quiet play, and/or story time. Your bedtime routine creates cues for our bodies to settle down and prepare for sleep. In addition, limit screen time (television and electronics). You will also want to avoid caffeine and heavy meals before bed as they both can interfere with your child’s ability to fall asleep.
- Ensure the bedroom environment is calming and peaceful. For the most restorative sleep, we want our bedrooms to be dark, cool, and have a comfortable bed. The darker the room, the more melatonin our body produces. The ideal sleeping temperatures are 68 – 72 degrees. Even a slight change in temperature can make a difference.
You do not want to wait until the first day of school to begin making changes. If you do, you will likely be met with a great deal of protest. By implementing these simple steps well in advance of the first day of school, you will have a happier child in the morning. We all like happy children!