Oh summer schedules. Or lack thereof. Long days at the pool followed by later nights indulging in movie nights and late ice cream runs. Those longer days normally come complete with later bedtimes and with the return to school right around the corner, those later bedtimes can make for some really tough mornings. Mornings, especially those first back to school mornings, are already stressful enough without adding tired kiddos into the mix. So what to do? Here’s a guide to ensuring everyone is well-rested and ready for school. By Susan Lowman 

  • First, don’t wait until the night before school starts to try to get back to your old bedtime. If you do wait until the night before to implement an earlier bedtime, you’re likely going to get some pushback from your kids. To make the transition smoother for everyone involved. gradually step into an earlier bedtime at least two weeks before school starts. Push bedtime earlier by 20-30 minutes for 2-3 days until you reach your desired bedtime.
  • Watching TV or playing video games right before bed blocks the release of melatonin which in turn can cause your kiddo to have a tough time falling asleep at bedtime, so turn off any device that emits blue light at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Make sure your child’s room is dark enough at bedtime. Purchasing some blackout shades like these from Blackout EZ Shades or hanging a blanket can help ensure that your child is waking because they’ve gotten all of the sleep they need and not because light is entering the room.
  • Set up a bedtime routine. Your child’s bedtime routine should be 30-45 minutes long and include a bath or shower, brush teeth/hair, pajamas, and books. Having a consistent bedtime routine will help prepare your child’s body for sleep and help her know what to expect each night.
  • Establish a consistent bedtime that allows your child to get the hours of sleep he needs each night. Preschoolers through adolescents truly need a 7:00-8:00 pm bedtime. If you’re struggling to wake your child up every single morning, they are likely going to bed too late. Establishing a consistent bedtime will help set your child’s circadian rhythm, so they can wake feeling refreshed. You may even find that your child begins waking naturally on their own.
  • Up until the age of 12, kids still need anywhere from 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Uninterrupted, consolidated sleep is necessary to cycle through the restorative sleep process, which is vital to helping your child thrive at school during the day. When kids aren’t getting the sleep they need at night, they have a harder time focusing in class.

To learn more, follow Susan on Instagram at  @susan_lowman and schedule your free 15 minute consultation. Susan Lowman is a certified pediatric sleep consultant with Sleep Wise Consulting. After 5 months of sleepless nights, Susan found a quick gentle solution to solve her son’s sleep problems. Shortly after this, she became certified as a baby and toddler sleep consultant and joined Sleep Wise Consulting. For over two years, Susan has given families the tools they need to teach their children to sleep at night. Interested in a FREE 15 minute evaluation to see how she can help your family? Start here.

Featured Image by Rachel Michealson