Back to School, Back to Sleep Schedules

As summer vacation begins to wane, the reality of school buses and backpacks is starting to set back in. Your child’s sleep schedule may have gone into “summer mode.” It’s important to start thinking about “school mode” prior to the night before the first day back.

First, let’s review sleep needs by age as recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • 3-5 years       10-13 hours in a 24-hour period*
  • 6-13 years      9-11 hours
  • 14-17 years   8-10 hours

*If your child is still napping, factor that into their sleep totals.

How do I figure out my child’s bedtime?

It’s important to keep the above sleep needs in mind when calculating your child’s bedtime.

If your child needs to be up by 6:30 a.m. and requires 10 hours of sleep, have them asleep by 8:30 p.m. Some children have higher sleep requirements, and others have lower sleep requirements. You’ll need to figure out an appropriate bedtime to get the rest they need. Sleep should truly be a top priority.

Start Back to Up the Schedule

You do not have to adjust bedtime and wake-ups in one night. Instead, start by making bedtime and wake up 15 minutes earlier every day or even every two days if things aren’t too far off. This will help your child slowly adjust to the new schedule.

Four Tips to Help Your Child Relax at Bedtime

  • Eliminate any screentime (TV, tablet, smartphone, etc.) from the late afternoon or evening. The blue light that emits from screens can delay sleep onset and make it difficult to fall asleep (for adults, too!).
  • Consider some guided meditations created especially for children at bedtime.
  • Some children enjoy adding some gentle yoga practices to their bedtime routines. This is something you can do with your child prior to bedtime to help unwind.
  • Avoid any excess sugar at dinner. This would include any desserts, chocolate, and fruit juice.

Prioritizing your child’s sleep will benefit them in the classroom, on the playing field, and beyond. If you’re struggling, we’re only one call away to help get you back on track!

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