How to adjust your child’s sleep schedule to go back to school
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -School is just a few weeks away, bringing an end to summer break.
If your child has been staying up late looking at screens and sleeping in, experts say now is the time to work on getting back into a routine.
The last thing anyone wants is for their child to go to school too tired to learn. Experts offer these tips to help you get your family back into a routine.
“It’s going to be a challenge for these kids because it’s summer. They like to have fun,” said Cox Child Life Specialist Brooke Davis. “Just having that quiet time or downtime before bed so even if you don’t have those screens, you’re reading a book together, or just kind of relaxing and having that calm, calming down session before bed will help for sure.”
First, turn off the screens before bed. The light emitted from these devices blocks our sleep hormones making it difficult to fall asleep.
“I know it’s hard with our older kids, just kind of setting parameters with them and saying, Hey, you have 30 minutes with the screen time, and then we are going to do something else,” said Davis. “They can go outside or read a book, really helping them transition into that.”
Next, avoid afternoon naps. If your child takes a nap longer than 20 minutes, it can make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.
Avoid caffeine before bedtime. If your child needs a drink before they head to bed, milk or water are great choices that won’t impact their ability to sleep. Also, don’t let your child go to bed hungry. A bedtime snack can be good, like cheese and crackers, whole wheat cereal, or fruit. Just avoid sugary snacks.
“The biggest thing I would say is just really getting into that routine, again, really setting those bedtimes for families,” said Davis. “ I would recommend kind of doing a sticker chart, maybe just kind of making sure that the parents can kind of make a timeframe for them to get back into that schedule.”
Start having your kids go to bed earlier in 15-minute increments. If your child has been going to bed at 9 p.m., have them start laying down at 8:45 p.m. for a few nights until they reach a bedtime that works for them. Experts say the best time to start working on getting back into a routine is at least a week before school starts, so your family has time to adjust.
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