Tips on helping kids get on a bedtime routine for school

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 2:55 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The summer felt short, but doesn’t it every year? School days are coming! This also means it’s already time to transition to steady routines and a good night’s sleep ahead of school.

Back to school usually means back to a routine. Local sleep expert Becca Campbell, with Little Z Sleep, has some tips for families.

“So if you look at your calendar, you know ‘ok we’ve got vacations, I’m going back to work, we’re starting school again, they’re going to start daycare’, I would not suggest making all those transitions within one week period of time,” Becca Campbell said. “If we can spread those out a little bit to acclimate the child, acclimate the baby, to acclimate your school-aged child to these differences and communicate that, especially to a school-aged child and preschool child. Communicating what’s changing is going to be so helpful.”

Campbell says role-playing can be really helpful for little kids. Role-play what it’s like to get ready for bed, pack your backpack and get ready for daycare or school. Maybe consider a family practice run.

“I think the biggest thing is communication, practicing and then give yourself a lot of grace like a 4-6 week period because change is hard,” Campbell said. “It’s hard on us, but we kind of know in our head what a calendar looks like. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers have no idea what time is like. They think two weeks is tomorrow. So, you have to be able to give them the expectations well in advance but give them a whole lot of grace as we make these changes.”

For older kids, it’s easy to let go of more routines in the summer. But just like younger children, practice and routine help. Do this by setting expectations such as cutting screen time before bed, and encourage kids to get outside.

“Those small things we can do at bedtime routine honestly change the whole rest of your nighttime projection and it is something anyone can do no matter their age,” Campbell said. “It just takes some of that willingness to take that first step to make the change.”

Start practicing now, so you’re ready to go for class.

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