It’s not just the kids who have to prepare for a new school year – families start early to adjust into the back-to-school routine. Here are some bedtime basics to help you get your kids back on a regular sleep schedule:
- Start soon. A week or two before the first day of school, begin shifting the time your children wake up in the morning and get in bed at night by 15 minutes every other day. If their current bedtime is 10:00 PM, get them to bed at 9:45 PM and wake them up 15 minutes earlier, too. Once you’ve reached a reasonable sleep and wake time, stick to it, even on weekends.
- Eliminate electronics. Turn off any gadgets that can stimulate children at least an hour before their bedtime. This includes TV, computers, game systems, and cell phones. Emphasize relaxing activities, such as a warm bath, bedtime stories or reading time.
- Cut Caffeine. Cut or limit the amount of caffeine (sodas, chocolate, energy drinks, tea) in your child’s diet. It is preferable that children don’t consume any caffeine, but if they do, it should occur before lunchtime.
- Turn down the temperature. Create a sleep environment that is cool, quiet, dark and comfortable. The best temperature for kids to sleep is between 68 to 72 degrees.
- Eat well and exercise. A healthy diet can promote quality sleep. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and dairy in your child’s diet. Make sure your children also get plenty of exercise during the day, which will help them wind down quicker at night. Take them for a walk, ride bikes or go to the park. Avoid exercise two to three hours before bedtime.