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It is time to get students adjusted back to school bedtimes. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

It is time to get students adjusted back to school bedtime routines. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Summer is coming to a close and it is time for a new school year.  In addition to gathering up the supplies they need and making sure they will be stylish on their first day, parents need to help their school-age children get back into school year routine.  This means getting up early to go to school, setting aside time to do homework, and going to bed early enough to ensure they get the sleep they need to support their physical health and mental health as well as their ability to learn.  If your child is struggling to get switch from a summer schedule to one that allows them to get the sleep they need and still get up for school, here are some tips that will help you both get back to bedtime.

1.     Talk it Over

One reason children and teens resist going to bed on time is that they don’t want to miss anything or “waste” time sleeping.  So one of the most important things parents can do to support a healthy sleep schedule is talk about why sleep is important and how much sleep each member of the family needs.  Involving your child in the discussion will help reinforce the need for everyone to get the sleep they need for good health.

2.     Choose Wisely

Get bedtime buy-in by making it a joint decision.  As part of the discussion on the importance of sleep and how much sleep each person needs, talk about when each person needs to go to bed in order to have enough time to get the sleep they need before they have to be up. Choose bedtimes for each family member to reinforce how important sleep is at every age.

3.     Stick to It

One of the best things we can do to safeguard our sleep is to get into a regular routine.  Our bodies do best when we are going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.  Try creating a standard routine together that involves regular “wind-down and get ready for bed” activities like changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading books.  Commit to following this routine as often as possible and it will be easier to fall asleep each night and get the sleep you need for each day.

4.     Better Bedrooms

Take a weekend and do a bedroom assessment of each family member’s bedroom.  Look for the little things that can steal sleep like excess light and noise, temperatures that are too hot or cold, and uncomfortable sleeping surfaces.  Correcting these little things can make a big difference in how well you sleep.

5.     Create an E-Free Zone

One of the most common barriers to getting enough sleep in today’s homes is electronics.  Parents and children alike may struggle to go to bed on time when electronic devices are easily accessible.  Remove both the temptation and the sleep-stealing backlit screens by declaring all bedrooms electronics-free zones.  Agree to a time every night when all electronics will be shut-off and it won’t take long for everyone to be snuggling in to bed on time and getting the sleep they need for success.