The kids have been staying up late all summer, going to sleepovers, playing video games and having a blast. But now it’s August, and the days of getting up early for school are looming.
How do you get them on a back to school schedule?
Don’t worry; with a little planning, the back to school schedule can be something that everyone eases into, instead of a shock to the system. This will make the transition to the school year go much smoother, and still provide some last-minute summer fun.
The first step is to use science to your advantage.
People have a natural sleep cycle called the circadian rhythm, that tells our bodies to sleep when it’s dark and stay up when it’s light. About two weeks before school starts, give the kids a bedtime, but make it only about an hour before they’ve been going to bed. If they’ve been staying up until midnight, make their bedtime eleven p.m. Every couple of days move their bedtime up an hour, so that by the time school starts, they’re used to sleeping and getting up on a back to school schedule.
The good thing about this is that they’re still going to bed when it’s dark, so they’re more likely to actually sleep. The shortening days of late summer will also be helpful here. To further promote good sleep, cut off any food or drinks with caffeine, like soda or chocolate, by the early afternoon. Also, if the kids are playing outside, bring them in a couple of hours before bedtime so they can wind down and relax. They can read, watch TV or play games.
To make the transition to a back to school schedule even more manageable, plan some fun outings during the last few days before school, and make them activities that start early in the morning. An all-day trip or outdoor adventure will be great motivation for getting up with the sun.
Of course, it’s still school, and they still may not be thrilled with going.
Remind your kids that getting on a back to school schedule leads to seeing their friends and having fun with them again!