Start the School Transition Through Sleep

Tips on how to get your child to bed early!

July 28, 2016

Sleep is my biggest concern about this change. With a mostly open schedule all summer, both my son and myself have been waking up alarm-free. If we kept this up until the first day of school, my self-proclaimed night owl son would either get to school three hours late (no alarm) or have three hours of sleep deprivation (dragged out of bed and carried to school).


The most basic thing is to have your kids—and yourself, if necessary—go to sleep and get up a little earlier every day. WebMD advises inching back bedtime and wake times in half-hour increments:


So, at least a week before summer vacation ends, start setting the alarm clocks.


Begin with a wake up time that is about an hour earlier than usual. For example, if your 6-year-old goes to bed at 9 p.m. during the summer and needs to get back to an 8 p.m. bedtime for school, begin by waking him up at 7 a.m. instead of letting him sleep until 8. Then try inching his bedtime back the next night to 8:30 p.m. On day two, wake her up at 6:30 a.m. and aim for an 8 p.m. bedtime.


I’m using a short vacation before school to help with this. Waking up earlier is easier when there’s something fun to look forward to or get to (Wizarding World of Harry Potter, here we come!), but you could use fun activities at the end of summer vacation in the same way. Plus, hopefully the activities will wear them out so they naturally fall asleep earlier.


Know how many hours of sleep your kid should get and try to nix any sleep issues now to make the new school year start as smoothly as possible.