How to Get Kids Back on the School-Sleeping Schedule

Follow these tips to help kids get ready for an 'early to bed and early to rise' schedule.

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Ah, summer time.

Stay up late! It is still light outside and there's no better time to enjoy the summer than those cooler evenings. And when it gets dark, chase fireflies, star gaze, have a sleepover.

Why not? You can sleep in the next morning, right.

And then school starts, and everyone is off schedule and off kilter and CRANKY.

We asked Patch readers how they transition their kids from all-bets-are-off summer sleep schedules to go-to-bed-it's-a-school-night routines. 
Here's what they had to say:

Carrie King: Start a week or two before school starts by easing kids into a proper bed time. Do the same with waking time. Go through clothes and school supplies to find out what they need. Clean their rooms and start setting up homework areas. If they fail to wake up at the proper time, a cup of water does the trick!

Paula Watkins: Ours doesn't change much and she still has summer obligations that start at the same time as school would. I'm sure once she is in Junior High and High School it will be different.

Rose Daniels Whipple: Cold turkey.

Stephanie Calhoun: I am with Rose. We enjoy summer schedule until the end. 

And here's some advice from some experts:

Gradually reintroduce earlier bedtimes: Work towards getting your pre-teen to bed by 8:30. That gives them 30 minutes to fall asleep and 10 hours to sleep by the time they have to get up at 7:00 a.m. If they need to get up earlier, they should go to bed earlier as well. For teens, aim for a 9:00 p.m. bedtime—which means no more late-night TV watching.

Look Beyond Bedtime: “If we approach sleep appropriately," Family psychologist David Swanson, author of HELP-- My Kid is Driving Me Crazy,  says, "we look at a kid’s whole day. If you want your kids back to sleep on time, have dinner at a set time and limit the computer, TV, and video game time,” he says. “You’re not just trying to get them back to bed, but into a routine.”

Turn off electronics: To help your kids wind down, all electronics — TV, video games, computers, and cell phones — should be shut off an hour earlier. 

Be a role model: Set a good example for your child. Establish your own regular sleep cycle and maintain a home that promotes healthy sleep.

Share your tips for helping children ease back into the school routine in the comments area below.


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