#1 Back to School Sleep Tip
Going back to school can be hard on kids. Whether you have a child in elementary school, preschool or an infant – any change in their schedule requires some getting used to.
Heck, for the last week, this school-year-induced early wake up time has been hard on me and I’m … well … older :)
The vacation is over as they say. Early school start times and bus pick ups mean that everyone has to get up and out earlier than they’re used to.
My #1 Back To School Sleep Tip for 2015: Go To Bed Early
Summer gave you a chance to see how much sleep your child really needs each night by allowing them to wake naturally in the morning rather than with an alarm clock. Calculate how much sleep your child will be losing each school night now that they will be waking up earlier. That’s how much earlier you need to be putting them to bed.
(See how much total sleep your child needs each day here.)
Elementary School Kids
If your child slept from 8:00pm to 7:00am in the summer but has to wake up at 6:30am during the school year, their bedtime needs to be moved back 30 minutes to 7:30pm to make up for this lost sleep. They may not fall asleep right away for the first few nights but stay consistent and they will get used to their new schedule over the course of the first week.
Your preschooler is getting a lot of stimulation during the day at school. If their school day ends at 12:00, make sure to get them home and put down for
their nap before 1:00. Run errands and spend quality time with them after their nap. This nap serves a biological purpose to help with brain development, learning and physical restoration and it’s important that it’s timed correctly. This afternoon nap should be around 90 minutes+ and will continue until the 3rd or 4th birthday - or maybe later if you’re lucky!
Prioritizing infant naps can be challenging especially when sibling carpools and activities are involved. It’s always best to get the morning and afternoon naps in the crib when possible. But always give your baby the opportunity for sleep even when you can’t be home. If you have to be in the car, add a few minutes to the drive if you need to in order for your baby to get an hour-long nap. In the stroller, make sure that during nap times it’s dark and all stimuli are removed to promote sleep. Plan for sleep like you plan for meals. You wouldn’t let your baby skip one of those would you?
These small tweaks to their schedules can help avoid sleep deprivation and meltdowns. Well-rested kids are happier, more focused and less irritable.
And who doesn’t want that?