How to Establish a New Bedtime Routine

So, summer is almost over, which means it is almost time for the kids to head back to school. After staying up later at night and getting up later in the morning, they probably aren’t going to want to change their bedtime routine around when school starts. By starting the bedtime routine change early enough, you can help ensure the change will be an easy one for everyone.

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Determine how much sleep they need– Depending on how old your child is, will determine how much sleep they will need each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, preschoolers need 10-13 hours of sleep, school-aged children need 9-11 hours of sleep and teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep.

Determine their wakeup time and bedtime– Your child’s wake-up time will really depend on your child and how long it usually takes them to get up, get ready and arrive at the bus stop. For instance, if your child needs to catch the bus at 7:15 a.m. and it takes about 45 minutes from the time they get out of bed until the time they arrive at the bus stop, their wake-up time would be 6:30 a.m. To determine their bedtime, find out how many hours of sleep they need (see above) and then subtract the number of hours, backwards, from their wake-up time. So, for example, if their wake-up time is 6:30 a.m. and they need 10 hours of sleep at night, counting 10 hours backwards from 6:30 a.m. will give them a bedtime of 8:30 p.m.

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Start changing bedtimes early enough-
Start transitioning your child from their summer bedtime to their school bedtime about 2 weeks before the start of school, so they have time to get used to their new bedtime. Transition slowly by putting them to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, until the desired bedtime is reached.

I feel like my kids just never want to give in to their tiredness…like, ever!

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Turn off all electronic devices
– You may think that electronics like TV’s, cell phones and tablets, is an ideal way for them to wind down at night before bed. However, this is not true at all and in fact, will likely have the opposite effect. These devices give off an artificial light that tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime, preventing sleep. It’s a good idea to have your child turn off all electronic devices about 90 minutes before bedtime. Instead, have them engage in relaxing activities like taking a warm bath and reading a bedtime story.

Create a good sleeping environment-
By creating a comfortable sleep environment for your child, it will make it easier for them to drift off into dreamland. Keep their bedroom at a cool temperature, between 68 and 71 degrees. Make use of white noise, which helps to drown out any distracting noise. There are various sound machines on the market, like the Lectro Fan White Noise & Fan Sound Machine and the NUK Natural Sleep System.

Is it incredibly hard for you to get your kids on a schedule like it is for mine? The transition at our house has to begin with small, small (and I mean, REALLY small) baby steps.

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21 comments

  1. We are two weeks away from the first day of school, and this week my son has been going to bed at his regular school night bedtime. It’s time to get back into the routine!

  2. Oh gosh, I’ve been using these tips and I have no kids! Good sleeping habits are so important! Turning off my devices is super important to ensuring I get a good nights rest.

  3. Whilst I don’t have any children of my own yet, these are some really useful tips. As a teacher with the summer off, I have to adjust my bed time accordingly when I return to school, and it’s definitely not easy! I can definitely relate to the kids.

  4. Oh my goodness, I need these tips! I am dealing withsleep issues right now with my 3-year-old son. Preschool is about to start and I cannot get him to go to bed early enough and he wants to sleep until 9am or later. It’s crazy! The next few weeks are gonna be tough!

  5. I have been trying to get my kids to bed on time this week. It really shows with my kindergartener when she gets enough sleep. If she doesn’t there are big tantrums. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Any thing you do to adjust a sleep schedule, do it gradually. I always let the child know that we are making changes and here’s how we will do it. Slow and steady. Almost always the child will go along.

  7. These are such AMAZING tips!! I definitely had issues putting my kids to bed when they were younger. They are doing a lot better now but I wish I had this post back then.

  8. The struggle is real when it comes to bedtime and routines. I have a 6 year old and still have trouble with her at times. Your tips are all on point however.

    Thrifting Diva
    Ayana Pitterson

  9. Bedtime routines are quite hard to change and I agree that we need to start changing it a week or two before school starts. Though it’s a struggle if you have young kids who are very much little balls of energy.

  10. These are all great tips for the school year! I think forgetting or refusing in turning off electronics is where most of us go wrong!

  11. We have a big struggle right now with electronics. All summer long my eight year old daughter has used her iPad before bedtime and now she is quite dependent on it before bedtime. We definitely need to make a few changes.

  12. These GIFS are too funny! I agree with establishing a bedtime. My kids do great following a bed time routine. We established a good routine since they were 2 months.

  13. I always found that easing into the routine a week or so beforehand made the bedtime transition easier. We always had a bedtime even in the summer but it was much later than normal and we didn’t have to wake up so early.

  14. We’ve been working on this all week! It’s so hard trying to talk a small person into going to bed earlier, especially when it’s still not dark outside. The resistance is real!

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