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5 Ways to Get Kids on Their Back-To-School Sleep Schedule (+1 Bonus!)

by Reyna Thomas

School is approaching, and the stores are full of back-to-school supplies, but the kids are still running around the neighborhood young and free and not getting enough sleep. It’s hard to think about reigning in their summer fun, but things will need to change once school starts. Which may mean a drastic change in sleep habits for some kids.

But they shouldn’t have to miss out on sleep. Instead, parents can do a few things to help ease the transition back into a regular sleep schedule for their kids. Just follow along with our tips!

Gradually Introduce New Sleep Schedule

The first adjustment you should consider is gradually moving bedtime earlier by 15 to 30 minutes each night until you reach the target time. This will help get them used to going to sleep earlier and make the transition back to school mornings less jarring. Aim to start this transition at least 2-3 weeks before school actually begins so that it’s not such an abrupt shift.

We know you still want them to take advantage of the dog days of summer while they can. But you don't want the teacher sending you a note about your kid dozing off in class during the first few weeks of school, so be as consistent as possible to ensure the best results!

mother reading daughter bedtime story.

Establish a Routine

Children need time to relax too, and by developing a calming bedtime routine with your kids, they can be asleep in no time. Try adding things like bedtime stories, quiet time, and other calming activities to help your kids unwind from a hectic day of playing or seeing friends.

If you make it enjoyable for them and encourage the routine with compliments, they're more likely to stick with it. Depending on how much help your kid needs with their bedtime routine, this can also be a good time to bond with them.

mother and daughters in bed doing skin care.

Limit Technology Use

If you want your kids to enjoy their sleep, then you have to cut their tech use at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from screens can disrupt their body’s natural production of melatonin, making it harder for them to fall asleep and adjust to a new schedule. That also means no screens should be left on while the kids are asleep. Instead, encourage your children to unplug before bed and help them relax and get ready for sleep with a book, completing a craft, or writing in a journal.

Get Up and Move During the Day

Another way to aid your children’s transition to back-to-school mode is with exercise. Daily exercise aids in calming the mind and providing a sense of accomplishment to your kids’ day.

Find a time of day that fits your child's schedule and encourage them to move around a little bit each day., enough so that they feel tired. With regular exercise, they’ll expend their energy enough so they can get a good night’s sleep. Just make sure you don’t let them exercise too late into the evening since evening exercise can overstimulate kids and make it hard for them to fall asleep.

mother and daughters playing with sprinklers.

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Your bedroom should be the one place you can find true relaxation. And when it comes to your kids, the fewer distractions they have inside their bedroom, the easier it is for them to focus on sleep. Some quick elements to consider for your child’s bedroom include:

  • Don't let the light in. Outside light can be blocked by heavy or dark curtains.
  • Check the room's temperature. Too warm of an environment can keep your child awake.
  • Keep the space tranquil and eliminate noise. A fan or a white noise machine can be helpful for some kids, but the sound from noisy activities like vacuuming can disrupt their sleep.
  • Only use the bed to sleep. Encourage your child to complete their schoolwork, read, and do other tasks in separate areas.

Follow The Leader

The bonus tip? Get yourself on a back-to-school sleep schedule too! If your kids see you following a regular sleep routine, they’ll be more likely to do the same. So set that bedtime alarm for yourself and get some extra Zs before the school year starts!

Doing this transition as a family will help everyone’s morning go smoother too! This period of time is great to start thinking about how your morning routines should go. There are a lot of tasks you can add to your night routine, like lunch prep, supply gathering, etc., that can lead to a breezy morning.

father and son brushing their teeth before bed.

Time for Good Night

Getting your kids back into a routine or starting a new one can be challenging. Sticking with it and knowing you all will get through it will lead to a restful night’s sleep and a stress-free morning! Before you put the kids to bed, make sure they have a comfy mattress that fully supports their growing bodies. But if their mattress is old or too small now, be sure to stop by Crane's Mattress if you need help finding the right mattress upgrade! And if you have any questions as you shop online, feel free to give us a call; we’ll be happy to help!