I think I may be a little late in writing this as I’ve already starting seeing some back to school pictures in my Facebook News Feed, but I figure better late than never! There are some things you can do before school starts, but even if your children have gone back to school keep reading.
A Few Weeks Before School Starts
If you have been letting your child stay up later during the summer than they normally do during the school year, it’s best to start gradually moving bedtime earlier. If you expect your child to fall asleep earlier the night before school starts, you may not be too successful. Not only may they not be tired, but they may be anxious, excited and scared and this will not help them sleep. So, a few weeks before school starts, or less depending on how much time you have, and how far back you need to move the bedtime, start gradually making bedtime earlier by around 10 minutes every 2 -3 days. You can also start waking your child up 10 minutes earlier every 2 -3 days as well.
A Few Days Before School Starts
Hopefully at this point you are pretty close to your child’s school year bedtime and wake time. For the few days before school starts, you may actually want to start doing practice routines in the morning as well. So have your child get dressed, have breakfast, and maybe even get their backpack ready for school. This will also give you an idea of how long it will take them to get ready. If you’ve been home all summer and are going back to work, you may want to try this as well!
Make sure during the day you are talking occasionally with your child about school. This is especially important if they are starting school for the first time, or making a big change. You don’t want to leave their questions or concerns to the night before the first day of school!
Try to have everything prepared at this point for Back to School. Keep the day before back to school as a calm, stress free day.
And I know, these are not necessarily sleep related tips, but a prepared child who has all their questions answered and knows what to expect will probably have an easier time falling asleep than one who is nervous.
The Day and Night Before School Starts
As I mentioned before, try to have this day be as stress free as possible. You may want to plan something special with your children to celebrate the end of summer. Try not to make it sad in any way, make it a positive experience.
For bedtime, you may want to start the calming bedtime routine a little earlier than normal. Try dimming the lights a little earlier than normal and try to keep things as calm as possible. Starting things a little earlier also gives your child to opportunity to ask all those last minute questions that need to be answered RIGHT NOW, without you losing your patience!
Want to know what things I recommend in a Bedtime Routine? Click here for my earlier post on that topic!
It’s also important to remember that we cannot make our child fall asleep. We can only give them the tools to be able to. So if they are having trouble falling asleep, try to remain calm and just be there for them. I would try to have things like lunches done before bedtime. That way you can just give them the time they need.
The First Few Nights of School
You may still want to continue giving your children a little extra wind down time before bed for these first few nights. Chances are they will be excited / nervous / stressed still until they really get their routine down. And if they are used to being with you all day during the summer, they may miss being with you all day. Try to give each child 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to just let them talk to you and be with you. This is actually a good thing to continue on all year if you can.
So, are you ready? I may or may not be counting down the days!! I hope this helps you, writing it all down has helped me have a plan and remember to try and relax and give the kids the time they need before school starts to tell me their fears and excitements!
Feel free to comment with any Back to School tips you may have!