Back in school means it’s back to bedtime routines.
Gone are the summer days of staying up late to watch movies or making s’mores around the bonfire, with school just around the corner, now is the time to get back into a nightly routine. Break out of the summer sleep schedule of late nights and even later mornings with these bedtime tips to put your little one back on schedule.
Set an Earlier Bedtime
Switching your child’s bedtime from 9 p.m. to 7 p.m. in one day isn’t going to be easy to start a new bedtime routine. Instead, ease your child back into the school routine with gradual change. Begin by slowly introducing an earlier bedtime each night in 15-to-20-minute increments—this is a bedtime routine that’ll stick.
The Cold Turkey Method
Now, this approach does take your child’s bedtime from 9 p.m. to 7 p.m. right away. But this method is best if there isn’t a lot of time to adjust their bedtime routine before school starts. All you need to do: put a stop to sleeping in. Wake your child up at the designated school time and tuck them in at the new bedtime. It’s like ripping off a band-aid.
Dine In Early
Reserve an early dinner table at home for the whole family. Scheduling healthier meals ahead of time will help your little one adjust into a new routine and prevent food-related disruptions later at night. Planning dinnertime early will also help your child unwind for an earlier bedtime.
Keep Bedtime Consistent
Whether it’s eating dinner at 7:30 p.m. or turning in all electronics at 8 p.m., making a consistent bedtime ritual is key. Show your child what to expect each night with the same bedtime routine. This could be reading your child a chapter from their favorite book before bed or singing them a soothing lullaby before they drift off.
Make it a Routine for the Whole Family
Let your entire family participate in the nighttime rituals. This will promote better sleep habits for all your children. Sleep tip: Work on keeping bedtimes for all your kids close to one another, so no one feels left out.
What a Bedtime Routine Could Look Like
How much sleep your child needs depends on their age and school start time. Here are some ideas on what a bedtime routine could look like.
- 6:30 p.m.: Your little one eats a healthy dinner.
- 7:15 p.m.: All electronics are put away for the night.
- 7:30 p.m.: Your child brushes their teeth, takes a shower, and puts on pajamas.
- 8:00 p.m.: You read a chapter of a book with your child.
- 8:30 p.m.: It’s bedtime. Tell your little one goodnight and let them go to sleep.
- 7:00 a.m.: Your little one wakes up and gets ready for school.