Transitioning Your Kids from Summer Schedule to a School Sleep Schedule

posted: 08/09/16
by: Amanda Mushro

After a summer of staying up late and sleeping in, that early morning alarm clock on the first day of school can be a real shock to everyone's system. So rather than drag your kids out of bed and find them cranky and exhausted all day, now's the time to get them off their summer schedule and back on a school sleep schedule. It won't happen in a day, but here's how you can get everyone rested and ready for school.

Set a Schedule Based on How Much Sleep Your Child Really Needs- Many studies show that children's success at school and their behavior is correlated to quality sleep at home. So while you're setting bedtime and wake time for your child, be sure to check out the National Sleep Foundation's recommended hours of sleep based on your child's age. With those hours in mind and the start time of your child's school, you'll be able to set a bedtime and a wake time for your child that will get them on the right track for success at school.

Start with 15 Minute Increments- Just sending everyone to bed super early after a summer of lax bedtimes and sleeping in is not going to work. So start with 15 minute increments every night. This means starting the bedtime routine earlier every night and allowing your child's body to fall asleep a little earlier each night. The same goes for wake time. Use an alarm to wake your child 15 minutes earlier every morning.

Disconnect Earlier- The lights from a tablet, smartphone, and other tech gadgets overstimulate your kid's eyes and minds. So even if it seems they are relaxing with screen time, it's important to cut all screen time at least an hour before bedtime.

Cut the Sugary Treats- Summer nights call for treats like ice cream and s'mores, but when you're trying to get your kids back on a school sleep schedule, it's time to cut those sugary snacks in the evening, especially six hours before bedtime.

Be Consistent- Getting your kids back on a consistent sleep schedule is going to take more than a few nights. While sleep experts say two weeks is ideal, you'll need to be consistent every night, and gradually, you'll see your child winding down earlier, falling asleep earlier and being able to wake up earlier each day.