Back-to-School Sleep Tips


Only a few weeks left before the kids are back to their regular school schedule. Summer break is almost over and even before we start the new school year, we hope to get the kids to get used to the new schedule. Here are some back-to-school sleep tips for your kids whether they homeschool or go to a brick-and-mortar school.

Start the Transition Early

I get it. We did it as well. A lot of families are still having their last hurrah and still traveling. And the changes in the routines while on vacation can affect the sleeping patterns of your little ones. Instead of starting the school routine on the first week of school, having our kids adjust to the school schedule even while on vacation is best.

If you are still out on the beach a week before school starts, allow the kids to slowly go back to the school routine by putting them to bed at the same bedtime for school. If you are on a road trip, make sure that their camper bedding has enough shade to keep the area utterly dark during nap and sleep time.

Model Best Behavior

Kids are great imitators. They follow the cues from their parents, and I admit I have my shortcomings as a mother. During summer break, I let them have more screen time than usual. And they do not bother keeping their time short as they see me on the computer most of the time. Hence, I should discipline myself first and be the best model for them. 

Families should have rules in limiting the use of electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light from mobile phones, tablets, and computers may disrupt sleep. The blue light suppresses melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep. No more screen time 1 hour before bedtime.

Have a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Research has shown us that children that have routines support their healthy development. Hence, we should also include a consistent bedtime routine for our children to help them prepare for sleep. Favorite bedtime routines of families are warm milk, reading a bedtime story, bath, or massage. Choose what is the best routine for your family and stick with it. 

Also, having a bedtime routine will prevent situations where a child negotiates to prolong playtime and delay. The bedtime routine provides our children a sense of comfort.

Creating an afternoon nap routine is also helpful, especially for babies and toddlers.

On the other hand, it is also important that the kids have a sleeping and waking up schedule. Their sleeping and waking up times should be about the same time every day.

Limit Sugar and Caffeine Intake

Studies show that caffeine intake and high glycemic diets before bedtime can negatively affect sleep. Caffeine interferes with the natural circadian rhythm of our body keeping us stimulated and may cause difficulty in sleeping or even insomnia. Sugar or food that has a high glycemic index may increase the blood sugar in our body and may disrupt our sleep by activating hormones related to hunger.

The usual items that have caffeine are soda, energy drinks, and chocolate. Don't let kids consume caffeine within 6 hours before bedtime and ensure to limit sugar intake.

Help Create the Perfect Sleep Setup

Consider getting noise-blocking curtains to cut down street noise. Some kids also like to listen to white noise to put them to sleep. 

Start dimming the bedroom lights as their bedtime approaches. Make sure that the child's bedroom is as dark as possible. When our child was little and was afraid of total darkness, we opted to have a nightlight near his bed.

Another tip for you is to add a soothing aroma to the bedroom. We personally love the smell of calming scents of lavender. I add a few drops of essential oil to the diffuser and it always works wonders on the kids.

Another important thing to add is to make sure that your child feels safe before bedtime. Avoid watching scary movies, videos, or computer games that may trigger the anxiety and fears of your child. Make sure that you tell your kids that you love and care for them throughout the day, especially just before they sleep. Tell them words of affirmation that are positive and these will be ingrained in their subconscious that will help them as they grow. As parents, we have the power to help our kids have better sleep which will be a factor to be better in their school performance.