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In the summertime, all of our sleep schedules tend to shift. The sun is out longer, there are more outdoor activities that go later on in the day. Without school pressuring an early bed time, it is all too easy to shift into a later sleep schedule.
While this is a completely natural shift that happens for many of us. It does mean that as school rolls around again, it is time to start shifting back to a usual sleep schedule. This tends to take a bit more work and effort. Which is why we are going to share our top tips with you on how to get your kids back on a sleep schedule for school.
Never set a bedtime routine for your kids? Check out our post Create a Bedtime Routine for Kids for our top tips on how to create a bedtime routine for your family.
As a mom, I know how important taking a break from routine is. You have to give yourself and your kids a time to let loose and relax for a while, especially in this day and age. Summer can be such a magical time for kids with no school and those long sunny days. Which is why we say you should go ahead and embrace the lazy summer schedules. Go ahead and stay up a little later, and sleep in a little longer.
It is bound to happen whether you plan for it to or not, so you might as well lean in and enjoy the relaxing break from a strict routine. Hit the snooze button for a couple months and then use our following tips to shift back to a school year schedule.
Looking for advice on creating a summer sleep schedule? Click the link for our tip tips: Tips for Kid’s Summer Sleep Routine
Changing or shifting your sleep schedule takes time. Keep in mind that our bodies are used to changing sleep schedules with the shifting of the seasons. Which means it takes more than simply changing the time on the alarm clock in order to start comfortably waking up at a new time. So be aware that your kids are going to need time if they are going to wake up feeling refreshed.
Which is why we recommend taking at the very least a couple weeks ahead of time to get used to waking up early again. This way if there are any slip ups or accidental sleep ins, it is happening before the school year officially begins.
Nightly routines before bed can make heading off to sleep much easier. Having a set routine and actions you do each night before bed can help to regulate your circadian rhythm and sleeping habits.
Often times summer vacations, camps, and so on can naturally throw off these routines. If this is the case for your family, try to get back on track with your bedtime routine.
While you’re changing up your nightly routines, we think this is also a great time to start regulating smartphones, video games, tablets, and TV time. Both for your kids and for yourself. Getting to sleep can be nearly impossible when you have an endless supply of entertainment at your fingertips.
Keep in mind that if you do not currently have any limitations in place, this may be a difficult transition. It is hard to let go of our smart devices; they can be incredibly addictive. Teaching these boundaries is not only healthy, but can make it immensely easier for everyone to get to sleep at night.
As summer comes to an end, so does lazy days in your pajamas watching cartoons till midafternoon. Your morning routines will make a big change once school starts. Which is why we recommend you start shifting back to your normal morning routine early on.
Bring back a regular breakfast and getting dressed back into the routine. This gives everyone time to negotiate shower times, bathroom mirror needs and so on before school starts.
Struggling to wake up early? You may enjoy our post: How To Become A Morning Person
Mornings can be a very stressful fast-moving time of the day. There is a lot to get done in a short amount of time. It can also mean things get forgotten. Including class projects, lunch boxes, and so on. In order to make everyone’s morning run a little bit smoother, we suggest everyone does some nighttime prep for the morning. Not only is this great for kids, it is a fabulous practice to do for yourself as well.
Why wait to choose your outfit morning of? Make life easier, and lay out your outfit the night before. This allows you to take your time and makes getting dressed in the morning way easier and faster. Have anything that you need to take with you in the morning? Lay it out by the door, or better yet just stick it in the car. If you have anything particularly important or a lot of things to bring with you, create a list by the door you leave out of. Something quick and easy you can glance at to ensure you have everything.
These small preparations and thinking ahead often makes a huge difference with how your mornings play out. This is a great skill to teach your kids for them to bring into their adult lives as well.
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Needing a bit of motivation for yourself or for your kids? Plan some morning activities that you have to leave the house for. It is one thing to get out of bed on time, it is a completely different thing to be ready and out the door at a certain time each day. By planning a morning activity, this is a great test drive for getting everyone up, fed, dressed, and out the door on time.
Not only is this a good practice run for the kids, it is a great test drive for the parents as well. We suggest trying to make the activity something enjoyable so the kids have some kind of motivation for waking up and getting ready.
Eating right before bed can make it just that little bit more difficult to get to sleep at night. Especially if there is any sugar involved. Which is why we recommend you begin to be mindful of what time you and your family finished eating in the evenings.
Our circadian rhythms are affected by our eating habits. You may even want to consider shifting dinner time to be earlier in the evenings. This may help to shift the entire evening to come to a close earlier.
You May Also Enjoy: How Carbohydrates Affect Your Sleep & Energy
A good sleep schedule is consistent. While of course this is difficult to maintain when you are actually creating a shift or change to your sleep schedule, it is important to keep this in mind.
Once you have made the switch in schedules to be a school sleep schedule, be consistent with this change. Remaining consistent is truly the best way you can create a new routine.
If you have the space and the ability, try to keep toys and playtime out of your kid’s bedrooms. The reason behind this tip is that having your rest/relaxation space combined with your playtime space, can make it more difficult to sleep. We are very affected by our environments. Having a separate space for excitement and playtime that is bright and exciting, vs a sleep space that is calming and relaxing can help to create a distinction between playtime and sleep time.
Not enough space? No problem, you can still keep toys and playtime in the bedroom. You can still create a distinct change in mood for bedtime that can create the same feeling of separation between playtime and sleep time. Have a toybox or designated space to put away toys before bed. Then only allow favorite comfort toys and blankets on the bed for naps and bedtime.
You can even have putting away the toys be a part of your bedtime routine. You can have your little one help you to tuck in and say goodnight to all of their toys before bed. Added benefit: a tidy room each night! Which also helps to lower stress levels for everyone.
Work in the bedroom can also ruin sleep. Learn more in our post: Separate Work From Your Bedroom
The best way to create change is to lead by example. If you expect your kids to stop watching tv after a certain time, then you should be doing the same. Leading by example truly goes a long way, especially with teenagers.
If you are unwilling or unable to follow your own rules, it makes your kids not want to follow these rules either. Also, if you see it as a good rule for your kids, it is likely a good rule for you as well.
While a lot of this is geared toward the idea of getting on a sleep schedule for the beginning of the school year, these tips absolutely work year-round. It is never too late to create a positive change in your habits and schedules. We hope these tips get you and your family back on a good sleep schedule. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We would love to help out in any way we can.
Struggling to fix your own sleep schedule? We have been there too. Click the link to view our post all about it: How to Fix Your Sleep Schedule.