It is that time of year again! The nights are getting cooler, the crickets and cicadas are noisy as can be, and the stores are stocked with school supplies and fall clothing items. Yes, it is time to prepare for another school year. I wanted to put together a list of my tips to help your child have sleep success when they head back to school.
The sooner you help your child adjust to being back on a regular schedule and routine, the more likely he or she is to be successful when we do not have a choice but to wake up early each morning and get moving to make it out the door on time. I know, just like you, I am dreading those rushed mornings, packing lunches, and the absence of the ease in our day with no major schedule!
It feels as though back to school time means “let’s just hit fast forward on our little one’s childhood and the time we get to spend making memories together”. I am excited as it is a time to learn and grow knowledge, character, friendship, new skills, and so much more! But I really do love everything about summer holidays.
However, the sooner we get back to these routines, the more likely we are (as an entire family unit) to be successful with the transition. It is time to wake up earlier in the mornings and go to bed earlier in the evenings. Start now, everyone wins!
If you have strayed from a bedtime routine in your house, now is an important time to bring it back. If you have never had a bedtime routine, now is also a really good time to establish one. Engaging in a series of activities in the same order leading up to bedtime each night sends cues to our brains that it is time to prepare for sleep. This means we will drift off to sleep with ease and stay asleep longer!
Evaluate your Family’s Sleep Hygiene
Even if you don’t have a little one heading off to school, the fall time is still a great time to evaluate your sleep environment. It is also important to follow a schedule and sleep routines for us as adults. Not only do we sleep better when we do this, our children will as well because they see us setting an example and are more likely to be on board with healthy sleep habits themselves in this case!
Make sure your child has an age appropriate bedtime
Most likely, as you enjoyed the summer break, your family accumulated some sleep debt. The best way to repay this sleep debt is by making sleep a priority for naps and bedtime. Head to bed early in the weeks leading up to school to help your child feel rested as we move into the new school year. A well-rested child has a stronger immune system, better coordination (which will prevent injury), and tolerates change and transitions much better than their overtired peers.
Enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer holidays but rest up, too. You will be glad you did!