Before you know it, the first day of school will be here and summer will have unofficially ended. For many children, the summer has meant staying up late and sleeping in late, but with school soon to begin, it’s important to get their bedtime routine back on track.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 6 to 13 need between nine to 11 hours of sleep each evening, while teens need about eight to 10 hours a night.
Studies have shown that children who do not get the recommended hours of sleep will have a higher risk of experiencing behavioral problems at school and more difficulty learning. Conversely, children who are well-rested will be happier going to school and relate better to their classmates and teachers.
The following are some tips to help get children back in a normal sleep routine before school starts:
Adjust Bedtimes Gradually
Two weeks before the first day of school, start moving your child’s bedtime earlier in 15-minute increments, and wake your child up in the morning the same number of minutes earlier. Continue doing this every night and morning until your child wakes up at the time that is necessary once school starts.
Set an Electronic Curfew
At least one hour before bedtime, have your child turn off all electronic devices (televisions, computers, laptops, video games, etc.). Children may not notice, but the artificial blue light emitted from electronic devices can suppress the body’s release of melatonin, which is needed to fall asleep.
Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
A relaxing setting will help your child wind down about an hour before bed. About an hour before bed, consider dimming the lights, and having them read, draw or color while listening to soothing music.