• Martha Lewis

8 Essential Back to School Sleep Tips

Summer officially ends for many of us when the school year starts. We're lucky in Wyoming that school starts after Labor Day. In other states, school starts mid-August!

Maybe you've been traveling and camping and staying up late this summer. Which means your kiddos have gotten out of their bedtime routines and have been staying up late. Back to school usually means back to schedules and routines.

But the transition from summer to the routine of the school year isn't always easy. So here are some strategies to get back in sync.

1. Don't wait until school starts.

That's why I'm writing this a couple of weeks before school starts. Your child will need some time to adjust to an earlier bedtime. So I suggest moving bedtimes back 15 minutes every 4 nights or so. You can start 2 weeks before school starts. (Monday, August 20th would be an ideal time.)

2. Set a timer.

This is a great way of taking the blame away from you. It's not you rushing them to bed, it's the timer! You can use it for outside time before bath, bath time, or story time. Or for the whole bedtime routine. My favorite is the Time Timer.

3. Turn off screens before bed.

Computer, TV, and phone screens all emit blue light. Blue lights suppresses melatonin, the hormone that tells our bodies it's time to sleep. My advice is turn off electronics after dinner until the next morning. (This goes for parents, too!)

4. Have a bedtime routine.

Whether your child is a baby or a teenager or anywhere in between, a good sleep routine is essential. A consistent routine signals the brain that bedtime is coming, so the brain starts shutting down to get ready to go to sleep.

5. Schedule an appropriate bedtime.

Every child is different, so you probably have a good idea of when they should go to bed. As long as it's between 7 and 8pm. If you think your child isn't sleepy until 9 or 10 at night, they still need to go to bed earlier. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep a night. An 8pm bedtime ensures they get the sleep they need and gives you and your partner some time to yourselves.

6. Keep the room cool and dark.

The sun is still setting late and rising early in late summer, so make sure you have blackout blinds that keep the light out. I like BlackoutEZ blinds. They block light completely and keep the room cooler, too.

7. Allow some reading time.

Whether you're reading to your kids or they're reading on their own, a half hour of book time is a great way to wind down before going to sleep. The repetitive eye motion and low-level brain activity is a natural sedative. In case you're wondering what to do without screens, reading is it!

8. Remove temptation.

Older kids with cell phones can be tempted to be on their phones once they're in bed if they've got their phones with them. You can keep their chargers in the kitchen and have them plug in before bed.

If your routines have gone haywire and you need help getting back on track, book a free call with me today. Let's get started before school starts so your kiddo gets the rest he needs to learn to his fullest potential!

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