For many, the school season is already upon them and for many more it is just getting ready to start. With that in mind, countless parents around the world are faced with an increasingly long to-do list… And one thing on that list that many parents tend to overlook, is that of their child’s sleep schedule.
During the lazy days of summer, all too many kids get used to sleeping in, not getting dressed or even eating breakfast first thing in the morning. Too often their day begins with a leisurely stroll downstairs to veg in front of the computer or TV for hours on end… Only to head back to bed at a time that is significantly later than their normal school year routine time. So, what is a parent to do as the day draws near that they will have to be up with the sun? Plan ahead and save yourself (and your child!) the stress!
- Be Honest: Honesty truly is the best policy when it comes to raising kids. Even if your child is entering only their first or second year of school, sit them down and discuss what a sleep schedule is and why it is so important. Your child will, in turn, be far more likely to jump on board and make both of your lives a little easier when it comes to hitting the hay!
- Get Started: Plan to begin implementing your child’s school-season sleep schedule at least two weeks in advance. Put them to bed about forty minutes to an hour before you would actually like them to be asleep. This will give them ample time to start to settle down in bed for a bit (and make the typical bathroom trip or “I’m thirsty” call) before shutting their eyes at the time that you are anticipating.
- Set Guidelines: Children need guidelines, it’s a known fact. And getting them back to their school year sleep pattern can often prove to be no easy feat. Be sure to set in motion certain guidelines to encourage them to get back to the norm of the school year. For instance, no video games or TV until they wake up, get dressed and eat breakfast.
- Shut Down: Ensure that your child shuts down all of their electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. Fast moving images from computers, TV’s, and video games all stimulate your child’s mind, which keeps them up for even longer. Read to your child, or have them read to you, this is a great way to get your child to settle down a bit and rest better and longer.
- Bribe: Use a bit of bribery to coax your kids back into their regular sleep schedule. One great way is to also incorporate school shopping as a reward. Tell your child that once they are successfully back on their routine school year sleep schedule, you will take them for a shopping spree for all of their brand new school supplies! Another great tip to get them up in the morning is to encourage them with a morning surprise, such as heading the park bright and early or going out for a doughnut!
Finally, be sure to be easy on yourself and your child. Getting their body and mind to recognize a sleep pattern will take a few days, which is why starting a few weeks before school is so vitally important. Be patient, and allow for their clock’s to reset. Keep encouraging your child and they will pick up their routine in no time!