Back to school is on the horizon, if it isn't already in session for your family! We have been shopping for campus wear, backpacks and supplies, scheduling appointments and signing up for extracurricular activities for a few weeks, but there is something else related to back to school that is on my to-do list that will help any family make the transition from summer freedom to returning to a structured learning environment; that is developing a sleep schedule.
In years past, the process of getting the kids into a routine for school was hard. They were staying up later and sleeping in later, for months and having a hard time transitioning to their school night bed and wake up times. Truth be told, I was not having the easiest time with the new routines either!
Then I learned a few tips and tricks to help my kids prepare for back to school and to get them rested and ready to learn that changed the game for my family. These are all so easy to implement that you will want to get started today for an easy breezy first day of school. These tips work best if you use them all within a week or two of school beginning.
Before school begins, my family starts to reel in bed times. The kids were able to stay up until 10 in the summer, but are expected to go to bed at 8:30 on school nights, so my family marks the calendar and on the 2 weeks til school begins mark, we start cutting bedtime back by 5 to 10 minutes. Each night leading up to the start of school means the kids are going to bed at 9:55, then 9:45, the third night they are tucked in at 9:40. This continues until they are going to bed at 8:30. This helps them to get back into their routines with fewer tears and struggles. Similarly, I do the same thing for wake-up times.
On the same day that we begin to reel in bedtime, we also begin to place limits on television and electronic devices. I remain firm about turning off all devices one hour before bedtime. I know that limiting their screen time helps them to sleep better.
I begin to limit their device use in the day time and offer them activities that resemble their normal school year routines. As an example, in my home, we finish our homework after school before we have dinner or play. Two weeks before school starts at 4 pm, it becomes quiet reading or coloring time. This sets the pace for 'work' time when the school day ends.
My last tip for developing a back to school sleep schedule involves the bedrooms. I give their rooms a good cleaning, eliminating clutter and general distractions. I aim to create a relaxing atmosphere for sleeping, so that when earlier bedtimes become the normal, it is easier to get my kids to settle down and be ready to sleep, free to clutter and noisy toys!
These tips always help my family get back to a school year sleep schedule. Do you have any tips to share? We would love to hear from you!
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