To do their best in school, grade-schoolers need a good night’s sleep—10 to 11 hours. Kids’ sleep schedules often get derailed, though, by winter or summer break, or by a change at home. Here are ways to get back on track.
1. Adjust wake-up time in stages.
If your child has been sleeping in two hours past school wake-up time, don’t try to change all at once. Start by getting your child up an hour earlier for a few days. Then gradually wake your child up earlier and earlier.
2. Gradually move up bedtime.
Again, adjust your child’s schedule in stages. If your child is getting up an hour earlier, make bedtime an hour earlier too, and so on.
3. Make sure your child gets exercise.
Being physically active throughout the day will help your child sleep at night. But try to avoid exercise in the three hours before bedtime.
4. Try to keep your child awake all afternoon.
Do chores, play outside, plan together time. Try not to let school-age kids crash during the day, or they may be wide awake at bedtime.
5. Phase out electronics one hour before bedtime.
Computers and video games can prevent your child from winding down. Be fair and create a no-electronics rule for the whole family. If your child has a cell phone, you can set up a cell phone contract to get on the same page.
6. Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
The light and noise of electronics can be distracting. Your child may be tempted to play on a smartphone or digital tablet instead of sleeping. Place devices in a common area, like the living room.
7. Establish a bedtime routine.
Putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading a story together can help kids prepare for sleep. If your child has trouble with routines, try using a bedtime checklist.
8. Create a sleep-friendly environment.
Turn off the lights, shut the blinds, and keep the temperature cool.