This is a repost of a post I wrote last year. I know a lot of children have already gone back to school or are going very soon, so the more gradual approach may not exactly work for you all! I do also want to add to have patience with the change. This could be a stressful time of year for your children, so they may need more wind down time before actual asleep time, and they also may need some more time just chatting with you before bed, so try to add that time in in advance.
If your child’s schedule has changed because of the summer, you may need to do some work to get them back to a school year schedule and now is the perfect time to do it! I suggest gradually moving schedules earlier. You can start now and do it so gradually you’re children will probably not even notice it!
- Start by moving bedtime earlier by 5 – 10 minutes every few days and in several weeks (depending on how much later they are staying up) you will probably be back to the original bedtime. You may also need to start waking your children up several minutes earlier than normal as well if the earlier bedtime is not automatically doing this.
- Expose them to daylight in the morning and make sure you dim the lights in your house before it is time for them to go to sleep. You may have to close the blinds before the sun goes down to make it darker.
- If you do not have all this time to get your children ready, you can start waking them up 15 minutes or so earlier in the morning and then putting them to bed 15 minutes earlier at night.
Try not to wait until the night before school starts to get an earlier bedtime. Chances are if you do that, your child will not fall asleep earlier and if they have to wake up earlier then normal, there is a good chance they will be overtired on their first day of school.
If your child is still napping and will be shortly starting school, you may want to start decreasing the amount of their naps and then making bedtime a little earlier. You do not need to totally take naps away, they may still want to nap on the weekends, so I recommend changing nap time to quiet time or rest time and if they are tired, they may fall asleep.
Feel free to comment below with any back to school tips you have and remember to enjoy the time before they go back to school!