A new school year is upon us, which means readjusting summer sleep schedules.
Experts recommend prepping for school-year routines two weeks in advance but, sometimes, the bittersweet end of summer vacation catches many of us unawares.
Here is some helpful advice to help little ones adjust quickly to new routines.
Make slow changes
Neither adults nor children adjust to changes that are made in one fell swoop.
When adjusting bedtimes, move them earlier only by 5 to 15 minutes at a time, every two or three days. This will help you and your children feel less groggy in the morning.
Children under 12 years old need between 10 to 11 hours of sleep, while older children need eight to nine hours.
Work together as a family
Children will feel better going to sleep early if they have an example to follow. That doesn’t mean your bedtime should be as early as 7:30 or 8 p.m., too.
Finish up any homework soon after dinner, and get ready for the next school day together. Having backpacks and lunches packed and any parental forms signed will help the next morning’s rush go much smoother.
Start having more calming family activities an hour before your children’s intended bedtimes. Avoid the TV and smartphones and together choose a book to read, or help them with a calming bath.
Turn off your devices
Blue light from electronics can stimulate the mind too much before bedtime.
Turn off the TV or smartphones and dim bedroom lights an hour before to start calming the mind down. Try having a charging station in the kitchen or another shared space where everyone can store their devices for the evening.
Are you using your phone as your alarm? Try going analog or looking into some of the alarm clocks we’ve recommended for Daylight Saving Time.
There may be some struggles having earlier bedtimes, but remain patient and positive for you and your child.
If children — especially very young ones — see bedtime as a positive activity rather than a punishment, they’ll be less likely to resist the new schedule.
Counter any last-minute requests by incorporating them into your children’s new routine. Experts say that if children’s routines keep getting interrupted, the harder it will be for them to adjust.