A Special Series on Sleep and Parenting
This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation
Summer is coming to a close, which means that your kids will soon have to snap back to reality. Their relaxed routines of June, July, and August are about to be replaced with an early wake-up call Monday through Friday. Want to make the transition as smooth as possible? Follow these five tips.
- Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute.
It takes about a week to easily go from sleeping in late to waking up bright and early. Start by gradually moving your child's wake-up time earlier in 15-minute or 30-minute increments each night, depending on how much shifting needs to happen. And while you’re figuring out bedtimes, make sure that your kids are getting the right amount of sleep each night (for instance, kids between the ages of six and 13 need nine to 11 hours of slumber a night).
- Create a Cut-off Time for Tech.
Your kids may love their phone or video games, but at nighttime, anything with a screen should be off limits—especially in the bedroom. That’s because staring at an electronic screen late at night makes it tough to get to sleep, because it emits a stimulating blue light. In fact, it isn’t a bad idea to make this a house rule and follow it yourself, since you’ll also benefit by falling asleep easier.
- Prep as Much as You Can the Night Before.
Mornings are hectic enough as it is, so pick out your child's clothes, prepare lunch, and pack his school bag before you go to bed.
- Try a New Alarm Clock.
This is good for teens, especially, who may be tempted to keep hitting snooze all morning long. Go with one that plays their favorite upbeat music, one that rolls around on the ground for them to find, or even a wearable wristband that vibrates to wake them up.
- Don’t Let Weekends Derail You.
Once you’ve gotten your kids onto a good sleep schedule Monday through Friday, don’t let them sleep in until 10:00am on the weekends. It will throw them out of whack by the time Sunday comes around. Encourage your children to stay as close as they can to their weekday routines and everyone will be happier and more alert.