From the Sleep Foundation: here are some tips to help your child ease into his or her school-time sleep schedule and to maintain healthy sleep habits throughout the year:
- About two weeks before school starts, work with your child to return to a school appropriate sleep schedule. Every night, set an incrementally earlier bedtime, and every morning, an incrementally earlier wake-up time. Make sure that when school starts, they’ll wake up with the amount of sleep they need for their age-group.
- Maintain sleep schedule– Once your child’s sleep schedule is established, stick with it! Don’t use the weekend to “catch up on sleep.”
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.Before bedtime, start a “quiet time” to allow your child to unwind. The routine should include relaxing activities, such as a bath and a bed-time story (for young children) or a reading time (for older children).
- Limit television, video games, and other electronic distractions before bedtime.
- Avoid big meals close to bedtime– a heavy meal may prevent your child from falling asleep.
- Avoid caffeine –sodas and other caffeinated drinks should be limited after noon, and especially at night. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any caffeine six hours before bedtime, as the caffeine can interrupt your child’s natural sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Maintain a peaceful bedroom environment– dark room, comfortable bed, and a room temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold. Electronic distractions like television, computers, or video games should be removed from your child’s room and set up in a different location.
- Be a role model –Set a good example for your child. Establish your own regular sleep cycle and maintain a home that promotes healthy sleep.