For most, summer is a time for sleeping in, staying up late, and lounging around the house. To get off to a smooth start, I recommend changing your child’s wake up time several days before the first day of school. Moderately move your child’s bedtime back to school appropriate hours. Having the same bed time and waking time everyday trains your body for smoother sleep transitions.
Tips for Calming Bedtime Routines:
- A bath/shower
- Read with your child, tucking them in and saying good-night to them. Make reading a treat – let your child stay up 30 minutes later if they are quiet and reading a book to themselves in bed.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, sugar, screens and scary stories.
- Refrain from bright lights – electronic devices can trick your body’s natural sleep rhythms; turn off screens 2 hours before sleep onset. Make sure cell phones are left outside of the bedroom
- Keep bedrooms quiet without music or TV that might cause children to sleep less sound.
- Aim to have the home as quiet and calm as possible when children are trying to fall asleep.
Children who get enough quality sleep have less trouble focusing and concentrating. Additionally, well-rested kids have less frequent and less severe infections. The optimal amount of sleep for most children is 10 hours per night. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness.
A good start to the day is also important. Try to leave an extra 15 minutes in the morning for unexpected needs. Plan and prepare for the next day the night before: read books, pack lunches, and lay out clothes. Starting the day well prepared can set the tone for the rest of the day.