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Tips to Adjust Your Child’s Sleep Schedule Before School Starts

Summertime for kids means sleeping in and every parent knows how hard it is to get them up and at ‘em when school starts. This article offers some great tips for parents to get them back on track and out the door on time.
Published: July 14, 2020

Summer is a great time to pick up some terrible habits, especially when it comes to sleep. Without a chipper alarm and the starting bell at school giving your child a good reason to rise and shine, transitioning back into proper sleep habits can be hard.

With school just around the corner, here are some tips from the National Sleep Foundation for getting your child back into the groove of going to bed early and waking up rested.

Tip # 1: Take it step by step

In the two weeks leading up to the start of classes, start setting earlier bedtimes and earlier wake-up times. Each day the bed and wake-up times should be earlier than the one before it to ease into the schedule your child will need for the school year.

Tip #2: Stick to the schedule

Once you start establishing a sleep schedule, make sure you commit to it. That includes weekends.

Tip #3: Create a bedtime routine

Give your child time to relax and unwind before bedtime. The bedtime routine should revolve around relaxing activities, like a bath or reading time. It is important to limit electronic activities such as video games and television. Also, avoid big meals and caffeinated drinks like soda before bedtime to help your child fall asleep faster.

Tip #4: Establish a peaceful atmosphere

To create a calm environment for your child, make sure that their room is dark, their bed is comfortable, and the temperature is set such that it isn’t too hot or too cold. Distractions like computers, televisions and video games shouldn’t be a part of the sleeping environment, as they can provide too much mental stimulation for your child to fall asleep easily.

Tip #5: Lead by example

Even when it seems like they don’t, your child looks up to you, so it is important for you to set and stick to a sleep schedule for yourself. When your child sees you sticking to your sleep schedule, they’ll feel motivated to stick to theirs.

And sticking to theirs is key to starting off a new school year on the right foot, and on the right side of the bed.


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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.