It’s fourteen days until the first day of school – you know, the time when we’re enforcing earlier bedtimes for Olivia, to get her on track for fall. So those screams you hear coming from our house with open windows just before nine o’clock? Pay no attention, it’s only our angry child who has become accustomed to staying up until ten o’clock most nights.
Ideally, that’s how long you should give yourself before you make the transition. When it comes down to it, we’re talking about a transition of two hours, having Olivia in bed at eight o’clock, and asleep, after she’s become accustomed to staying up until as late as ten o’clock over the summer holidays.
Fifteen Minute Intervals
Adjust the bedtime by fifteen minutes every night, lowering the time that they’re going to bed until you get to the point where you’ve reached the ‘school year bedtime’ from the ‘summer vacation bedtime’.
Get Back into Routine
Showers, teeth brushing, reading together – whatever it is that you do through the bedtime get started at it again, just a little earlier, over the span of time before school starts.
Remove distractions, electronics an dbooks from the room that might keep the child awake after you’ve put them to bed. This way, it’s more likely they’re going to fall asleep. We’ve recently gone through Olivia’s room and removed the toys so she’s not spending an hour awake playing after we’ve put her to bed.
Get a Fresh Start
Choose some new sheets, a new blanket or even a pillow to celebrate getting back on routine. Let the kids help to choose the new item to help fasttrack their sleep (because even the youngest of people can appreciate the joy of new sheets!)
Skip the After School Activities
While kids are getting back on track, skip the after school activities. We’re skipping fall activities this year as we transition to a full day of school, and are implementing an earlier bedtime through the first couple of weeks to ensure that Olivia is ready and rested.
Take in Fresh Air
Fresh air in the evening, before bed, is one of those things that has always worked for us. On those nights when the kids are restless we’ve always bundled them into the stroller, or bundled them up for a fast walk around the block. In addition to fantastic quality time, the fresh air helps them fall asleep.
Ensure ‘Calm time’ an Hour Before Bed
Rough play and other activities similar to it aren’t indicative of restful sleep. In the hour before bed, try to stop rough play and encourage calmness. This would be a great time to try some kids yoga moves, teach the kids simple meditation – both of which have great effects on high energy kids.
Skip the Electronics After Dinner
Electronics after dinner are stimulating and should be avoided for the most restful sleep. It’s not recommended for kids (or adults) to use electronics within an hour of going to sleep, but cutting it off after dinner makes it a bit easier to implement a cool down routine.
There are some nights when they need a little more – you know, the nights when they need a few more snuggles, an extra book read together, a snack, a few extra kisses. Back to school is a big transition from the summer months and as important as it is to have a routine, it’s important to maintain the ability to be flexible.
Have any other back to school sleep transition tips? Share them here!