Summer nights are winding down, so how do you get your kids to do the same?
We've gone soft this summer. What with the sunshine, BBQs and vacations, it was easy to be lax about bedtimes and let the kids stay up too late. But school is starting, and we have to make sure our kiddos will be able to get out of bed without being pried out with a crowbar.
Momlogic friend and parent educator Jill Spivack, LCSW, tells us that the key to establishing bedtime again actually starts in the morning: Wake your kids up earlier so they'll be tired earlier at night.
Here are her top tips for making sure your child gets enough shuteye before school:
- Explain to your child that although summer was fun, his or her body needs to be more rested for school. Adjust the wording depending on your kid's age, but talk about it with even young children.
- Know your own child and how sensitive he or she is to fatigue, since some children need more time to adjust.
- Don't wait until the night before school to transition. Preschoolers need 11 hours of sleep and around a week to transition back to their old schedule. Elementary-school kids require about 10 hours of sleep and about four days of transitioning. Tweens need around 10 hours of sleep, and teens require around 9. Teens and tweens should start transitioning a few days before school starts.
- Have your kids wind down for at least 30 minutes before bedtime, with no TV or computer. (This is a good time for baths and brushing teeth.) Avoid giving them caffeine in the evening.
- Close the blinds when your children go to sleep at night, but once it's completely dark outside, go back into their rooms and open them. They'll have an easier time waking in the morning if it's already light in their rooms.