Creative Child

Retooling Summertime Sleep Routines

Help your child adapt to a school-friendly sleep schedule as September begins
by Erin J. Bernard on Sep 2nd, 2014

Ah, summertime: it's a season tailor-made for casting off strict schedules and relaxing the rules, just a bit. Chasing fireflies, telling stories around a campfire, loading up on sugary sweets at a slumber party. These nocturnal adventures are part and parcel to the warm-weather months, but they can wreak havoc on bedtime routines as your little ones transition from the lazy days of summer to the regimented routines of September.

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How can you help them navigate the change, both mentally and physically?Experts offer these tips.

Wean kids gradually from summer sleep schedules in the days before school resumes.

Each night, send them to bed a little earlier, and each morning, wake them up a bit earlier, suggests the NSF. The Mayo Clinic recommends a whopping 9-11 hours of sleep per night for school-age children, which means kids should be settling in by 9 p.m. at the very latest in order to catch a 7:30 a.m. school bus. They may protest, but you'll thank yourself when you're not herding a brood of grouchy children out the front door each weekday morning.

Reestablish predictable school-year routines that your kids find familiar and comforting.

Reinstate a consistent dinner hour, and hang an up-to-date family calendar in a common area so kids can take ownership of their own schedules. In the late evenings, switch off the television and other electronic devices and re-introduce a quiet hour before sleep. Quiet hour may involve baths, showers, or listening to soothing music. It's also a great time for curling up with a book , family-style for younger kids, or solo for pre-teens and teens.

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Cut the extra sweets and caffeine that have likely crept into your kids' diet during the summer months over the course of countless barbecues, picnics, and parties.

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