How do I know how to set the right bedtime for my child?
Back to School Season means all.the.things! As parents we are busily gathering supplies, meeting the teacher, filling out the first day of school signs (I still do this with my 16 year old :), and picking out just the right outfit… But are you setting your child up for school success?
Are they arriving to school that first day well rested? Or have they already started the year and you want to know if they are getting enough sleep?
Are you wondering how to go about figuring out what time your child’s bedtime needs to be? I can help!
Check out this chart to answer all your most pressing timing questions about your individual child’s bedtime needs.
Based on sleep research, I created a chart that reflects total sleep needs for each age and bedtimes that allow for total sleep before different different wake times.
The bedtime listed for your Wake Time is a great place to start to fine tuning your schedule for your individual child’s sleep needs.
Questions to ask yourself to fine tune the ideal schedule for your child…
What is your child’s mood at Wake Time?
- Do you have a hard time waking them? Consider when they are falling asleep and adjust bedtime routines to allow for your child to get more sleep or get caught up on sleep.
- Does your child wake on their own happily? You nailed it. Your child is getting the sleep their body needs because they are waking naturally and their mood tells you that their brains were able to fully restore over night to be ready to tackle their day.
- Does your child wake easily but does not seem rested? Consider moving bedtime up. Test it for 3-5 days, and then make adjustments if you do not see an improvement in their mood.
Remember to start new routines with WAKING your child earlier first, before moving up bedtime! If your child has been sleeping until 8:15am and will need to be awake at 7:15am to get ready for school, start waking them at 7:15am and getting dressed and out to play in the sunlight or run errands so that at night your child will be tired for an early bedtime. I always allow a week to set routines if Summer or vacation routines have thrown off schedules. For a fun way to help your community reset back to school routines, visit this post to learn how to plan a Sleep Happy Wake Up Party in your neighborhood.
What about weekends? Maintaining similar wake times and bedtimes on the weekends and holidays will help maintain your child’s body clock. For example if your 6 year old stays up late and sleeps until 10am on Sunday, he is not going to be able to naturally work up the sleep debt to be ready to fall asleep at 7:30pm on Sunday night, therefore making it hard to wake him at 6:30am for first grade.
Setting regular predictable boundaries for sleep where children feel confident in their routine and understand their jobs for resting their body means will be SET for SCHOOL SUCCESS. Which in turn leads to happier quality time at the end of the day as a family.
Expert Tip: Kindergarten Parents, as a former Kindergarten teacher and mother of three I like to mention that the first semester of Kindergarten for students attending school for a full day for the first time is EXHAUSTING. I recommend not signing children up for afterschool activities and sports practices until second semester after you have given them time to adjust to this new schedule. You will have days when your child is done at 6:30pm and you can barely make it through dinner. You don’t want to be negotiating with them to go to choir practice or to get the shin guards on for soccer. I recommend scheduling this activities for Saturday morning if they are a must or holding off until second semester at least.
Bedtime taking too long? Your child struggling to calm their body at bedtime? Do you feel anxious as it gets closer and close to the end of the day because every night is a different challenge with your bedtime routine? Or maybe you just have more specific about your families schedule… I am here to help reset bedtime routines in as little as THREE DAYS!
Looking for support reaching your bedtime goal for your child FAST? Schedule a Free 15 minute consultation to discuss your family’s goal and discover what Sleep Happy Support Package best meets your needs.
Any Mama Friends in the same quandary about bedtime, be sure to share this post.
Happy Back-to-School Everyone!