Girl gets settled in bed to prepare for the start of the school year


Start school bedtime routines now

It's hard to believe that school will begin for some at the end of this month. Getting your kids ready for school includes adjusting bedtime and wake-time schedules. That gives you just a few more weeks to practice going to bed, and waking up, earlier.

Many parents and kids I work with dread this part of summertime—feeling as though the freedom of summer is over. But a change in schedule, doesn't have to feel like a jolt. Many experts agree there are great strategies to help families wind down gradually over time, making the transition that much easier.

Here are a few techniques I recommend:

  1. Start now.
    Don't wait until the last minute to begin reducing bedtime and waking up earlier. A good routine takes time to establish. The more you do now, the better that first day of school will go.
  2. Decrease the abundance of summer activities.
    Of course outdoor play is best each day—the fresh air and exercise help your kids sleep better overall—but, allow them the freedom of down-time. Decrease the number of play dates and take advantage of the time chilling out at home.
  3. Get your kids involved.
    Have them practice getting clothes out the night before, setting up breakfast or lunch and going through those morning routines (showering, brushing teeth, packing backpack, etc.).
  4. Praise positive behaviors and efforts.
    It won't be easy right away. Be sure to encourage your kids to work on the parts they struggle with, which I'm guessing will be the waking up early part!


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