As summer days wind down and the back-to-school season approaches, it’s time to shift gears from late nights chasing fireflies to establishing healthy sleep routines. Reintroducing a back-to-school sleep routine can help your child adjust. Embracing the transition to earlier bedtimes can set your family up for success as the school year begins. Sleep is important at any age. After all, quality sleep is essential for children of all ages to thrive, learn, and stay alert in the classroom. As you prepare fo school shopping, don’t forget to prioritize reestablishing healthy sleep habits in your household.
Here are some tips to help your family make a smooth and well-rested transition:
- Start Early: Introducing an earlier bedtime gradually can help your child ease into the new routine. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the recommendation that school aged children need an average of 9-12 hours of sleep every night. Adjusting bedtimes in small increments over a week or two can make the shift feel natural and less abrupt. A well-rested child is better equipped to face the challenges of the school day.
- Stick to the Routine: Create a soothing back-to-school sleep routine that lasts around 20-30 minutes. This winding-down period can include activities like reading a book, gentle stretching, or practicing deep breathing. Setting a timer can help keep the routine on track, and a visual chart can guide your child through the steps. A consistent routine makes it easier to avoid the “one more book” or “5 more minutes” negotiation.
- Swap Screens for Outdoors: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. To help your child prepare for sleep, turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, encourage outdoor activities during the lingering summer evenings. A dose of fresh air and physical activity can contribute to better sleep quality.
- Lead by Example. Getting back into the rhythm of early mornings and back-to-school routines can be tiring for parents as well. Take this opportunity to model healthy sleep habits for the entire family. Prioritize relaxation and unplugging from screens well before bedtime. An earlier bedtime can also benefit you, ensuring you’re well-rested and ready to tackle the day ahead.
- Embrace Consistency: Children thrive on consistency and predictability. Even on weekends, aim to maintain a similar sleep schedule to reinforce the routine. Consistency not only aids the transition back to school but also promotes overall well-being for the entire family.
Adjusting to a new back-to-school sleep routine may take a few weeks, but your commitment to consistency will pay off with improved sleep quality and smoother school mornings. By prioritizing healthy sleep habits, you’re setting the stage for success both at home and in the classroom.
If you’re seeking a personalized plan to establish healthy sleep habits that can have a positive impact throughout life, I’m here to help. As a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I have the expertise to guide your family toward well-rested nights and brighter school days. Feel free to reach out and take the first step toward a successful sleep transition.