3 Tips for Getting Your Kids Back on a School Sleep Schedule
By Sara Butler
Back to school -- three words that strike fear in the hearts of children everywhere, and maybe a few parents too. Sure, you’re ready for your precious little cinnamon bun to get out of your hair for a few hours each day, but getting them back on a sleep schedule for school may have you questioning whether homeschool is a good option.
It’s time to face reality: Summer is coming to an end and with it, your child’s blissful schedule of sleeping in and then watching unboxing videos on YouTube. Here are some tips the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic want you to use to make this transition from summer to school a little easier on everyone!
Tip No. 1: Decide on an Age-Appropriate Bedtime
No matter if you’ve got a plucky little first-grader or a sullen teen, working now to set up a better bedtime for them is key. Before school begins, slowly move bedtime forward in 15-minute increments daily until you reach the desired bedtime. You can use this method for wake-ups too!
How much sleep your child needs per night depends on their age. The breakdown goes something like this:
- Children 3 to 5: 10 to 13 hours of sleep
- Children 6 to 13: 9 to 11 hours of sleep
- Children 14 to 17: 8 to 10 hours of sleep
It’s not a secret that kids don’t get enough sleep, but with the support of the whole family, that can change!
Tip No. 2: Have a Bedtime Routine
You may think that bedtime routines are for babies and toddlers, but the truth is that children of all ages (and adults too!) can benefit from a routine that helps them prepare for a night’s rest. You want to include relaxing bedtime activities in your routine such as:
- Brushing teeth
- Taking a warm shower
- Singing bedtime songs
- Reading a book
- Gentle stretching
Begin these activities -- and shut off your electronic devices -- about an hour before bedtime each night.
Tip No. 3: Prepare the Bedroom
The conditions in which you sleep are very important for adults and for kids. As a parent, there are things you can do in your child’s bedroom that can help them to fall asleep easier and stay asleep, such as:
- Darkness - A dark room is ideal for sleeping. If your child’s bedtime occurs when it’s still light out, then invest in some blackout curtains to help minimize the light that gets in.
- Coolness - A cool room is a room that is great for sleep. If it’s too warm, it can make it challenging to fall asleep, so try to get the room to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit before bedtime.
- Quiet - Try your best to eliminate noise in your child’s room. If a fan or a white noise machine helps to keep your children from being distracted by outside noises, then they can be helpful tools for a better night’s rest. Just make sure you avoid activities that are noisy in the evening while your child is trying to sleep.
Also, try to ensure that your child only uses their bed to sleep in. If they do other activities there, such as homework or playing on their tablet, then it can make going to sleep more difficult in the long run. You don’t want hopping into bed to trigger an activity other than sleep.
Just as with many other parenting issues, bedtime is something that takes consistency, commitment, and confidence. Talk with your child about the importance of sleep and work with them to create good sleep habits that can last them their whole lives. And if all else fails, there’s always boarding school.
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