Sleep training

Back to school: Adjusting sleep schedule for children

August 23 , 2016
Luma Fawaz

Luma Fawaz is the mother of three lovely children ages 7, 5 years & a 9-month-old. She is first and foremost a mom!...More

It’s the time of the year! We are back to school! This time carries mixed emotions for parents and children. Parents can be super excited for their children to return to school. (Not that we don't love our kids , WE DO , but we need a break). Some parents may feel a bit anxious sending their little ones to school for the first time. Children are excited to move up to the next grade but may feel sad that the summer break is over.

As parents begin their countdown to the first day of school, they are busy buying school supplies and books, planning lunch boxes, and getting school uniforms. Amidst all of this, we shouldn’t forget an important issue: the transition from the relaxed summer routine into school schedule, and mainly how to adjust children’s sleep hours so they won’t suffer from lack of sleep and cranky mood for the first few weeks

Remember: At school age, your child needs a minimum of 10 hours of sleep every day

Below are some tips on how to gradually transition your children to school sleeping hours that are suitable for everyone:

- Summer fun means in many cases late bedtimes and sleep ins in the morning. Don’t wait until the day before school to begin the adjustment. Start a whole week before.

- Start by waking up your child 10-20 minutes earlier each day starting from day 6 or 7 before school, and continue gradually until your kid starts waking up at the needed time to get prepared and go to school. At the same time get your child into bed 10-20 minutes earlier each night.

- Children thrive on routine, therefore make sure to get back into school routine even before the school starts. Mimic a school day when planning the time for the different daily activities such as meals, snacks, reading time, and exercise time,etc. Divide them into slots.

- Cut back on any types of food that can keep your children awake and hyperactive , typically the food that contains high amount of sugar that perhaps they got used to consuming during summer time. parents know better what kinds of food keep their children awake, but usually these types of food include treats and beverages that contain sugar or caffeine . Also keep in mind that some children sleep better if their last meal was a relatively a light one .

- Remember: At school age, your child needs a minimum of 10 hours of sleep every day, so plan bedtime taking into consideration the time at which the child needs to wake up in order to get ready to school.

Don’t wait until the day before school to begin the adjustment. Start a whole week before.

It is also important to note here that the first week of school is usually overwhelming, and your children will come home super tired and cranky at times. For that reason I recommend sticking to an earlier bedtime during the first week of school until you feel that your child is back to his normal routine and groove.