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Back to School Sleep Tips

It’s that time of year again!  Time to tuck away the swimsuits and get the backpacks and lunch boxes ready for another school year.  It’s always a bittersweet time, eager for another year of school and learning but sad to say goodbye to the carefree days of summer and often times the later, fun-filled evenings.   It is very common for a child’s bedtime to become later in the summer than during the school year.  The days are longer and it’s often much cooler at night to enjoy some outside fun.  But once school rolls around those later bedtimes can be problematic.

So now that summer time is coming to end, its time to get your little one back on a great sleep schedule.   How do you do that?

  • First, be sure not to wait until the night before school starts.  A child’s body needs to time to adjust and waiting until the night before will make for a grumpy child the first week school.
  • At least 2 weeks before school starts, slowly start moving your child’s bedtime earlier.  Move it 15 minutes earlier every 2-3 nights until you get to your desired bedtime.  So if your child is falling asleep around 9:00pm and you need to get bedtime to 7:30pm for the school year, it will take you 12-15 days to do so.  
  • Bedtime for most school age children should be sometime between 7:00pm and 8:00pm.  Bedtime is when your child is getting tucked into bed, not when he falls asleep.
  • School age children need about 10-12 hours of sleep each night, adolescents about 8.5-9.5 hours.  You should never have to wake your child up in the morning.  You know he is getting enough sleep when he wakes up on his own.   No alarm clock should be needed!
  • Have a meeting with your child and let him know bed time will be changing.   Let him be a part of the process.  Make a bedtime routine chart and set a reward for cooperative behavior.   
  • Make it fun and use a timer to help keep everyone on track through the bedtime routine process.  A bedtime routine should be very consistent from night to night and be about 30-45 minutes long.
  • Turn off all the electronic screens in your house about one hour before bedtime.  The light emitted from an electronic screen can be very stimulating to a child’s brain and has been linked to difficulty falling asleep at night.  
  • Be sure your child’s bedroom is dark and cool.   The ideal bedroom temperature is 65-72 degrees and it should look like a dark night in his room.  
  • Finally, help your child pick out his clothing for school the night before and get his backpack ready so the next morning can run smoothly.  

Hope that helps your household make the back to school transition an easier one!  

Sleep Well!

About the author

Shannon Glenn

Shannon Glenn is the owner and founder of Sleep Well Children Consulting and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Specialist. She is dedicated to helping parents assist their children and babies in developing healthy sleep habits. With a B.A. in Psychology, Shannon has worked extensively with children and their families for over 15 years in a variety of settings.  She has been offering sleep solutions for over six years.  

Why didn’t we try this sooner?! As we speak he is sound asleep in his crib – and has been since 7:15 pm.

Karianne Wanggaard

Sleep Well Sleep Specialists

Don't go through another night of bad sleep.

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Working with Shannon, I went from 2-3 wake ups every night to 1 or 0. She aligned the plan with my preferred sleep cycle. She was always coaching, never judging. Shannon was great, I have referred MANY people to her! That's the best testament to her work that I can give.

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