Summer’s long days and fun nights can wreak havoc on a child’s natural sleeping patterns, and push bedtime back later and later. After this exciting season, most kids struggle to adjust to a sleep schedule fit for the school. This can negatively affect their focus in the classroom and their behavioral development.
You can help your children prepare for academic success, however, by getting their bedtime back on track. Follow our suggestions or find your own routine to help your kids get the best night’s sleep possible before school starts.
Create a Routine
Crafting a familiar bedtime routine can link certain activities to tiredness for your kids and help them get into the mindset of sleep. Once they’re used to a certain regimen, they’ll be more likely to cooperate and make bedtime a lot less stressful.
Try to set aside about 45 minutes to get your kids into a calm mindset. Taking a warm bath, reading a book or two, saying prayers, or even taking some meditative breaths can help kids wrap their heads around going to sleep and prepare their bodies for a restful night.
Ease Them Into It
One of the worst things to do on the first day of school is shock your child into an early wake-up. Instead of forcing their bodies to recover from lost sleep during the school week, slowly ease them into an earlier bedtime before school even starts.
School-aged children should be getting 9-11 hours of sleep a night. If your child needs to be up by 7:00 am for school, they should be going to sleep around 8:00 pm well before the first day of school. Try moving bedtime up 15 minutes every other day for the two weeks leading up to the first day to create a smooth transition.
Many kids are attached to their devices and use electronics to relax at night. The blue LED light in screens, however, can severely disrupt their circadian rhythms and keep them awake for longer. Blue LEDs are especially harmful to sleep patterns because the artificial light can trick the user’s brain into thinking it’s daytime, while the blue light waves boost attention and energy.
To help your kids get better sleep, try to enforce a no-screen policy 30-60 minutes before bed. Collecting phones, tablets, and computers before bedtime can act as a natural sleep aid to your kids and should make it easier for them to fall asleep.
Create a Sleepy Bedroom Environment
It’s important for your kids to have a bedroom environment that makes it easy to fall asleep and stay asleep. Noise, temperature, comfort, and light are all important to remember when preparing a child’s bedroom for nighttime.
Unless your child struggles with nightmares, try to keep their bedroom door closed while they sleep to keep their room quiet and dark. If needed, add a red-toned nightlight to their room. It’s also important for kids to be cozy when sleeping so they look forward to crawling into bed. A snuggly mattress, heavy blankets, and stuffed animals all help maintain an inviting sleeping atmosphere which should help your kid catch up on their ZZZ’s.
Whether it’s their first day of kindergarten, or senior year, making just a few changes to bedtime can improve your child’s sleep and their readiness to head back to school.