Thank you to Donna McLachlan, Child Sleep Consultant & owner of Healthy Baby Sleep Consulting, for providing tips and advice to help families solve their child’s sleep challenges.

School Sleep

Editors note: Though the opinions and information in this post are those of a qualified professional, the post is not intended to substitute/replace direct consultation with a qualified advisor or industry professional about your unique scenario.

The lazy days of summer usually mean vacations, travel, BBQ’s, camping and late night marshmallows by the fire.  And it can also mean your child’s sleep may have gotten a bit off track.  Here are my top 5 tips to help ease your child back into healthy sleep habits before school starts:

Get back on schedule

If your child’s bedtime has been later during the summer months,  I recommend taking 2 weeks before school starts to transition your child’s bedtime and morning wakeup time. Start by working back 15-30 each day towards your child’s optimal bedtime and optimal morning wakeup time. This will give your child time to shift his internal clock prior to the start of school.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 3-5 years need 10-13 hours of sleep (nap included) and 6-12 year olds need 9-11 hours of sleep.

Get back to routine
It is easy for routines to fall to the wayside during the carefree days of summer.   Start to implement a consistent and predictable bedtime routine again. A recommended routine would be bath, pj’s, storytime, hug and kiss goodnight and to sleep.
Limit all screen time before bedtime
The stimulation and bright light from screens (TV, DVD, tablets, video games) can impact a child’s ability to get to sleep.  Do limit screen time at least 1 hour prior to bedtime (and this goes for moms and dads too!).  Opt for reading books or quiet activities before bedtime.
Ensure your child’s bedroom is set up for healthy sleep
Ensure your child’s bedroom has blackout curtains or blinds to to prevent early rising with the early morning sun and to block out the later afternoon / early evening sun at bedtime.  Ensure your child bedroom is free of distractions like toys, TV’s, video games or computers.

Be a role model

Healthy sleep for children begins with parents who value healthy sleep for themselves.  Be a role model and ensure you maintain a regular bedtime and achieve those 7-8 hours of sleep for yourself too!

Remember to be consistent, firm and committed with your children when re-establishing schedules and routines.  Remember a well-rested child is happier, healthier and more eager to learn!

I am super passionate about helping children (and moms and dads!) achieve the healthy sleep they deserve.  If you have any questions about your little one’s sleep please contact me for a complimentary 15 minute consultation.

Happy Sleeping! 🙂

For more Back to School tips, see our Back to School Guide!