Dr. Kelly Ross, Pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, talks about how to transition your child into a back to school sleep schedule. First, it is important to begin easing your child into a regular sleeping schedule a couple of weeks in advance. It is not fair to expect your child to fall asleep at a bed time the night before the first day of school if there was no preparation. Most parents forget that just like going into your first day of work, the first day of school can be a huge stressor for kids and it can be even more difficult for them to fall asleep if a routine sleeping schedule is not in place in advance.
You want your kids to be at their very best for the first day of school, but that is difficult when they are sleep deprived. That is why it is so important to be proactive in getting your child in a regular school sleep schedule before the first day of school.
Many parents ask, “At what point do you hand this responsibility over to the kids?” Dr. Ross explains that her kids are teenagers, and they have even learned the consequences of not getting enough sleep. You don’t want to force your kids into a regular sleeping schedule, but it is important that they learn these processes in a gentle, happy sort of way.
When your child is starting to be able to tell time, it is a good idea to practice by having an alarm clock in the room. However, it is too much to expect younger children to wake up on their own with an alarm clock.
As kids mature and head toward middle school or high school, waking up on their own with an alarm clock is a reasonable expectation. About a month before that change occurs, you want to have your kids set their alarm and then follow up to make sure that they are actually getting out of bed.