3 Sleep Tips for Going Back to School

How to help your little one be as well-rested as possible

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Whether your little one is starting their first year or perhaps is a seasoned student, going back to school can throw off their sleep. Those more lax summer days can be a sharp shift when starting up the school year. … And I know you want your little one to be as well-rested as possible before heading back to school. So, it’s time to re-focus on your little one’s sleep and perhaps some scheduling on your end too.

Here are 3 tips to help transition back to school.

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Practice getting out of the house earlier.

A week or two before school starts, get into the habit of having an outing in the morning where you need to get out of the house earlier than usual. This means your little one also needs to wake up earlier. The activity can be anything from going to the grocery store or a morning at the beach or playground… the important thing is to set that time and stick with it.

To start, wake your little one up 15 minutes earlier each day or every other day until you get to your “need to wake” time for school. Making these small adjustments a couple weeks before school starts will help your little feel better-rested once the school week begins. Getting up earlier also means starting your little one’s bedtime routine earlier, so they can get enough sleep.

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Get your little one down earlier to bed.

Naturally with earlier mornings comes the necessity for earlier to bed… AND of course getting back into those bedtime routines that may have become a little more forgiving too. This not only goes for the couple weeks leading up to going back to school, but the week they go back to school and beyond.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends setting bedtime 10-15minutes earlier each night until your desired bedtime is reached, which is in the ballpark of 6:00-8:00pm depending on your little one’s age, naps, and wake windows. As far as the bedtime routine, it’s time to turn it back into a relaxing routine that will be the same every single night, so your little one associates those things with sleep.

Great routines include, dimming the lights, a bath, reading a bedtime book in bed, and NO electronics (at least an hour before bedtime, if not more!).

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Prepare the night before.

Help yourself by getting back into the swing of things. Lay clothes out the night before (or better yet let them pick them out - I know I haven’t really had much of a say in my daughter’s outfits since she was 2.5) and pack lunches and snacks the night before too. Getting these things “out of the way” will be helpful when there’s a meltdown about too much toothpaste on the toothbrush or all breakfast options are terrible or whatever reason your little one will thrown themselves down on the floor.

Preparing the night before will help YOU have time to respond to any meltdowns or mishaps and also not worry about getting those lunches (or other things) done. After all, a meltdown is not a big surprise this first week or two back because your little one is not quite yet adjusted on the new school routine, possibly a little tired (maybe didn’t sleep well the night before cause of excitement), and has a few extra nerves around starting school.

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I hope everyone has a great back to school week! One last thing to be aware of is that first week back your little is going to be extra tired from all the excitement, nerves, and focus on “new rules”! So, that bedtime might even be earlier the first few days as they adjust to the longer school day. if you see meltdowns start happening over dinner that’s a good sign that you might want to move into bedtime routines soon. I know my littles went down an hour earlier than usual the first 3 days back.

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ONE LAST THING…

If you need a little extra guidance with getting back on track for school OR getting on track cause sleep has always been “off”, I’ve got ya! Go here to schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me, and we can chat about it! Better yet, join my Healthy Little Village where you can ask questions, learn more about sleep, behavior, development, and connect with me live every month!

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OH, ONE MORE THING!

Every other week I share my newsletter — The Healthy Little Note — where you can get this directly in your in box plus other great curated content to help you and your little can get the most out of their first 5 years of life.

If you have little ones, I’m sure you’ll love it!

You can check out the most recent issue here.

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Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant + Child Behavior Specialist and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. She serves on the Medical Board for What’s Up Moms (the #1 Parenting You Tube Channel) and has a sleep talk series at Beverly Hills Pediatrics and Hatch Collection in Brentwood among others. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!

Susie Menkes, PhD is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant + Child Behavior Specialist and is dedicated to helping families get their little ones to be healthy little sleepers. She serves on the Medical Board for What’s Up Moms (the #1 Parenting You Tube Channel) and has a sleep talk series at Beverly Hills Pediatrics and Hatch Collection in Brentwood among others. As a mom of two, she knows and understands what you are going through and is here to support, educate, and guide you on all matters related to sleep... and more!