For a lot of us, summertime means relaxed schedules and routines. In our house, this means being less strict with bedtimes for both kids and parents!
With school starting up soon, I know many of us are thinking about those early morning routines yet again, and wondering how we can get our kids back on track.
Thankfully, it is not that difficult.
With a little bit of planning, you can have your kiddos back in bed at a reasonable time.
Sleep Routine Checklist:
- First, ask yourself how many hours of sleep your child should be getting each night. Generally, school-aged children should be getting more than 7 hours of sleep, but less than 12.
- Decide what time your child should be waking up in the morning.
- Once you establish your wake-up time, work backwards! Based on the amount of hours your child should be sleeping and when they should be waking up, decide what time they should be going to sleep. If your child has trouble falling asleep, try putting them to bed a bit earlier to give them enough time to wind down from the day.
To have smooth mornings in our house, we need to get up at 6 a.m. My son is five and needs about 9-10 hours of sleep, so I would ideally like to have him in bed and asleep by 8:30 p.m.
A key factor in establishing a sleep routine is also to work on your family’s evening routine.
Again, work backwards.
How long does bath time take you? Do you read books together? How long do you sit at the dinner table for? Set up your schedule so that everything is wrapped up a little while before bedtime.
Adjust the sleep schedule by 15 minutes every evening, bringing the bedtime closer to what you want it. Right now, our son is going to sleep around 9:30 p.m. most nights, which means I would need about four nights to get him to go to sleep at that 8:30 p.m. bedtime. Remember to be consistent. Keep to that schedule for a week before school starts, and include the early wake-ups too!
A few other things you can do:
1. Cut out screen time in the last hour or two before bed.
2. Make bath time a relaxing time. This helps put children in a state of calm and helps them understand that bedtime comes next.
3. Use a meditation app to help children wind down before bed.
4. Diffuse essential oils, such as lavender, to help bring a sense of peace and calm to their space.
5. Lower the lights around the house about an hour before bedtime.
I hope these tips help make those early mornings a little more bearable for you!