This article appeared on The Sleep and Wellness Coach. Allison Egidi is a Charlottesville mom of 2 and a certified pediatric sleep consultant and owner of Sleep and Wellness Coach, LLC. Thanks Allison for sharing your article with Charlottesville Moms!
Over the next ten days, both of my girls will head back to school – one to first grade and the other is starting transitional Kindergarten. My first grader gets on the bus around 7:20 A.M. We are one of the last stops before the bus leaves our neighborhood so many kiddos are on the bus long before 7 A.M.!
If your family has been operating on relaxed summer sleep hours – going to bed later and waking up later – there is a good chance your child will soon need to be out the door earlier than they are currently waking up.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ENSURE YOUR CHILD IS WELL-RESTED ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL?
Here are some helpful back to school sleep tips:
- Back into the correct bedtime by using the time your child will need to wake-up to get ready for school. The “exact” amount of sleep your child needs is the amount that allows them to be happy, alert and focused at school. Ideally your kiddo is waking naturally. If you need to wake them most days, they aren’t getting enough sleep and I’d suggest having them go to bed earlier. To help you know if you’re in the ballpark, I’ll share some sleep guidelines. It is recommended that children between the age of 2 and 3 years old get 10.5 to 12 hours of sleep each night, children between the age of 3 and 6 years old get between 10 and 12 hours of sleep, and children between the age of 7 and 13 years old get 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night.
2. If you have a few days before school starts, ease your child into the earlier bedtime. If your child has been going to bed at 8:30 or 9 P.M. and 7 or 7:30 P.M. is going to be the ideal bedtime when school starts, shift their bedtime earlier by 20-30 minutes every 1-2 nights as the first day of school approaches. If school has already started and you didn’t ease into the earlier bedtime, just dive right on in to the correct bedtime so your child doesn’t build up sleep debt right out of the gate this school year.
3. To help your child fall asleep quickly when they go to bed, avoid any screen time 60 minutes before it’s time to turn out the lights. The light from the screen can delay the body’s natural release of melatonin which can result in your child having a hard time falling asleep. If their bedroom windows let in a good amount of natural light, consider adding blackout shades until the days shorten.
4. Establish a consistent bedtime routine for your child. Having some wind-down time will help your child fall asleep faster. An example would be a bath or shower and then reading in a dimly lit room – either you reading to your child or your child reading to you if they are older.
Feeling well-rested will help your child (and you!) enjoy the start of the new school year. Cheers to an awesome year!