• Jessica Berk

Back to School Tips - Pandemic Edition

Back to School season probably looks pretty different this year.

You might be heading back in person.

You might be heading back virtually.

You may have decided to stay home and handle schooling yourself.

If you’re in any of these situations you are one BRAVE mama!

Each scenario comes with risks and rewards.

Figuring out what’s best for our childrens’ physical and mental health is our biggest job.

None of these decisions are easy.

But one thing is for sure.

Sleep is integral.

Science has shown time and time again that insufficient sleep negatively effects children’s cognitive development, attention spans, behavior and overall health, as well as having negative impacts on parental and family functioning.

So, start the school year off with my most important

Back To School Sleep tip:

Go To Bed Early


Your preschooler will be getting lots of stimulation during the day at school. If their school day ends midday, make sure to get them home and put them down for their nap before 1:30. 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! Bedtime should be before 7:30.

Elementary School Kids

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. Calculate how much sleep your child will be losing each school night if they will be waking up earlier. That’s how much earlier you need to be putting them to bed.

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.

Young elementary kids should be in bed by 7:30 or 8:00. Older elementary kids may be able to tolerate a later bedtime around 8:45 but I recommend ending the day with quiet time like reading, not screen time or stimulating play like wrestling with Dad.

Sleep Can Keep You Healthy!

A study out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2015 proved for the first time that insufficient sleep is associated with a greater likelihood of catching a cold. Now, the study was done on adults, not kids. But it empirically showed that

Adults who slept less than 6 hours a night consistently were 4X MORE likely to catch the common cold. 4 TIMES! The likelihood increased the less sleep they got.

In this season of COVID-19, we should be doing everything in our power to beef up our kids’ immune systems. And sufficient sleep looks to be a key factor.

Napping kids under 3 need between 11 and 15 hours of sleep.

Non-napping kids over 3 need between 10 and 14 hours.

Best wishes for a great school year, no matter what that looks like in your house!