Help Your Favorite Radcliffe Creek Superstar Get Back On Track For A Restful Night's Sleep
As clocks spring forward, we all have one common struggle: resetting our internal clock! And, if there's anything harder than resetting our internal clock, it's resetting our child's internal clock (and, in turn, their sleep schedule).
Adjusting a child's sleep patterns can take some time. According to The Children's Health and Sleep Center (TCHSC), parents/guardians should begin to adjust a child's sleep schedule at least a week or two before the first day of school.
TCHSC’s 7 Tips To Get Back On A School Sleep Schedule
Adjust your child's sleep schedule for school gradually.
Wake your child around the same time every day, and within an hour of school wake time (ex: if school wake time is 7 a.m., wake them up by 8 a.m.).
Make bedtime incrementally earlier, by 15 minutes every night. You can make wake times incrementally earlier by 15 minutes every morning, too.
Restart the school-night bedtime routines that may have become relaxed over break. Start by scheduling consistent bath and pajama time, story time and other pre-bedtime activities as part of the nighttime adjustment process.
Keep children physically active during the day, but focus on more relaxing, quiet activities in the hours between dinner and bedtime.
Turn off electronics and decrease light exposure a minimum of two hours before bedtime.
Children should not drink caffeine. For adolescents, if they do drink caffeine, limit it to the morning only. No caffeine should be consumed after noon, or it may interfere with the child's ability to sleep. This includes coffee, tea and soda.
How much sleep should children get each night?
Each child has individual sleep needs, but there are age-specific guidelines that can help you figure out how much sleep your child may need. Assess how much sleep your child needs by monitoring how many hours they sleep during the summer when sleep and wake times are relaxed. Keeping an eye on how many hours a night your child sleeps when they don't have a set wake-up time can give you an idea of how many hours of sleep they need.
You can also keep the following daily sleep guidelines in mind when setting your child's bedtime and wake up time:
Newborns: 14 to 17 hours/day
Infants (4-11 months): 12 to 16 hours (including naps) of sleep for any 24-hour period
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11 to 13 hours (including naps) for every 24-hour period
Pre-schoolers (3-5 years): 10 to 13 hours (including naps) per 24-hour period
School-aged children (6-12 years): 9 to 12 hours of sleep (not including naps)
Teens: 8 to 10 hours per 24-hour period
Getting back into a good sleep routine doesn't have to be hard. Remember that starting with a few simple steps can make a BIG difference. Getting enough sleep each night will set kids up for a successful school year and keep them healthy.