It’s that time of year again! School is back in session. At first it seems like a hard transition, from late summer nights at the pool to being in bed and lights out by 9:00 p.m. Here are some tips to get your family back into that school routine.
Start Early with a Back-to-School Bedtime Routine
Dr. Shannon Ashbaugh, a pediatrician with Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, SD, recommends starting the routine before the first day of school. Dr. Ashbaugh states the transition can be easier if you, "Start by putting your child to bed about 15 minutes earlier every couple of nights. Then, by the time school starts, your child will be used to going to bed at the time you want.”
Dr. Ashbaugh also suggests limiting screen time by setting the precedent of no screen time 1-2 hours prior to the child’s bedtime. This will encourage the brain to slow down and get sleepy so that your child can have a more restful sleep. Instead, she encourages relaxing behaviors such as coloring, drawing, or reading. If your child has a hard time calming down or is distracted by noises outside easily, Dr. Ashbaugh recommends using a sound machine to help limit distractions.
By keeping a routine, your child’s body will become accustomed to that habit. This will make bedtime easier for all parties involved. Consistent sleep helps your child feel rested and recharged for a full day of thinking and moving!
Encourage your child to have a bedtime routine and to stick to the plan every night as much as possible. Some days will be busier than others, but keeping a routine is important especially for younger children. If you can, keep your child’s sleep zone clean, cool, quiet, and dark. Be sure your child is getting 9-12 hours of sleep each night. This will ensure their brains and bodies will be ready mentally and physically for the day ahead.
Practice makes progress! Sleep tight!