School is starting soon and that means so do back to school routines such as early to bed, early to rise. It can be hard to get back into the swing of the sleep routine after a summer of fun & late nights, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself and your kids. Try these tips and hacks, and you’ll be back on track in no time.
To start, ease everybody back into the swing of routines, especially earlier bedtimes. A couple of weeks before school starts, start having the kids go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night till they hit their schooltime bedtime (ex. If they’ve been going to bed at 9, but need to go to bed at 8 during school, you’d start the first night at 8:45, the next at 8:30, and so on). This way it’s less of a shock and they’re less likely to put up a huge fuss.
Speaking of times for bed, set a regular time between 7pm & 8pm. Every child has different sleep needs, but generally most school-aged children need between 10-12 hours of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers these sleep guidelines for parents:
- 4-12 months: 12-16 hours
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
- 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
- 18+ years: 7+ hours
Once you have a set time and are working on getting back to that set time before school actually begins, it’s good to create a night time routine. About an hour before lights’ out, get things done like laying out clothes for the next day, taking showers/baths, brushing teeth, and putting on PJs. If you do the same thing each night before bed, the routine will start becoming a cue that it’s almost time for sleep.
A wonderful thing to have as part of your kids’ bedtime routine that children universally love? Bedtime stories! It winds kids down if they’re still energetic, creates a wonderful opportunity for bonding, and helps kids with their reading. It’s win-win all around. Something to avoid, however, is reading e-books – or looking at screens (tv, phone, computer) in general – at any point in the half hour leading up to sleep. Electronics emit blue light which causes a delay in the natural release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. No melatonin means no Mr. Sandman. (The avoiding electronics 30 minutes before bed rule is an excellent one for adults as well!).
Finally, make sure your child’s bedroom is primed for the perfect sleep. Blackout blinds are handy as bedrooms should be as dark as possible (though nightlights are useful too if your child doesn’t prefer complete darkness). Letting your child pick out their own sheet set will go a long way to getting them excited for bed too! And, of course, there’s the matter of making sure the mattress is comfortable – not too hard, not too soft (the kind of mattress Goldilocks would prefer). We have a great selection of mattresses at our stores and online PLUS a slew of more awesome information on sleep health on our website as well if it’s a mattress you need. Just drop by or give us a call!
Change can be hard, especially when it’s time to end summer fun and go back to school. These back to school sleep hacks should make the change a bit easier and give you and your kids one less thing to stress out over as the school season starts anew.