Earlier this week, I saw a Facebook post from a mom who said her kindergartener’s bus would be picking him up at 6:39 a.m. The idea of such an early pick-up gives me heart palpitations! I really hope your child won’t need to be out the door that early this school year. If, however, you’ve been running with relaxed summer sleep hours – going to bed and waking up later – there is a good chance your child will soon need to be out the door earlier than they are currently waking up.
So what can you do to ensure your child is well rested on the first day of school?
Here are my back to school sleep tips:
- Back in to the right bedtime. Use the time your child will need to wake-up to get ready for school to back in to the ideal bedtime. The exact amount of sleep your child needs is the amount that allows them to be happy, alert and focused at school. Sleep guidelines say that children between the age of 2 and 3 years old typically need 10.5 to 12 hours of sleep each night, children between the age of 3 and 6 years old typically need 10 to 12 hours of sleep, and children between the age of 7 and 13 years old typically need 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night.
- Ease your child into the earlier bedtime. If your child has been going to bed at 9 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. is going to be the ideal bedtime when school starts, shift their bedtime earlier by 15 minutes every 1-2 nights. Ideally they are going to bed and waking at their school-year-wake-time for a few days before school actually starts. If school started this week, go ahead and dive right in with the proper bedtime.
- No screen time 60 minutes before bed. The light from the screen affects melatonin and can contribute to your child having a hard time falling asleep.
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine for your child. Having some wind-down time will help your child fall asleep faster. An example would be a bath or shower and then reading (either you reading to your child or them reading to themselves if they are older).
Feeling well-rested will help your child (and you!) enjoy the start of the new school year.