With summer, consistency and routines fly out the window; and this summer has been unlike any other. But as school starts back up we’ll have to lose those lazy day habits and welcome a new season of school and schedules. A gradual transition is key in our case, and one of the most essential back-to-school needs for my kids is returning to a normal sleep schedule.

To ensure our kids are getting the right amount of sleep each night, we start getting into our new sleep routine a couple of weeks prior to that anticipated first day. Running a multi-directional household with kids going in all directions at all times of the day can be challenging for setting a consistent bedtime routine.

If you’re anything like me, every year around this time, you experience that whole “cowgirl trying to wrangle in her wild stallions” routine. But ultimately, Mom knows best and studies show that kids thrive off good sleep routines to prosper throughout their day.

For school-age kids, research has shown that adding as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep per night makes it easier for them to manage their moods and impulses so they can focus on schoolwork.

boy leaning on table girl working on laptop

How Much Sleep Should Kids Get Every Night?

Having four kids, this is a question I often ask myself. Whether we’re working on getting the kids back on a regular sleep schedule for school or not, I want them to be well-rested and healthy. Recently, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, changed its recommendations for how much sleep children should get.

  • Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours

sleeping kidkids bedroom

Why Does Consistent and Regular Sleep Matter?

A study published in Pediatrics found that children with non-regular bedtimes had more behavioral difficulties. That alone is worth the extra effort in ensuring they get the proper amount of sleep! Consistent sleep routines lead to positive outcomes such as improved attention, improved behavior and improved emotional regulation.

One question without a clear answer, according to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc: Does poor sleep lead to worse behavior, or do children with behavior challenges have a difficult time sleeping? Both can be true for some children. The bottom line, insufficient sleep in children can also lead to an increased risk for challenges with weight, hypertension, diabetes, and decreased performance at school.

It’s pretty clear in our house that insufficient sleep makes it harder to enjoy our days, so this mom is all about sleep routines for better daytime productivity and harmony in our house.

Check out all my parenting ideas on the City Girl Gone Mom Pinterest board!

boy using his tabletboy and mom in pjs

What About Screen Time?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all screens be turned off 30 minutes to 1-2 hours before bedtime. Further, small screens (like smartphones) are more disruptive to sleep than TV. The light from these devices can impede natural hormones that help us fall asleep. And the interruptions from devices can fracture our sleep, too.

With blogging being part of my job as a full-time influencer, I can attest to the fact that smartphones do affect your sleep. If you’re looking for optimal sleep patterns, don’t sleep with your cell phone, and make sure your children are refraining as well.

Children who consistently sleep fewer than 10 hours a night before age 3 are three times more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity problems by age 6.

boy laying on chairdog laying on bed

Take Advantage of the Science

Did you know that kids under the age of 12, or before puberty, get tired naturally around 8 p.m.? According to Dr. Swanson, at approximately 8 p.m., there is a natural rise in their melatonin levels, recommending that parents seize that opportunity to transition kids to bed.

We have a strict 8 p.m. policy in our house during the school year—homeschooling or not. I must say that I agree with Dr. Swanson on seizing the opportunity!

Have you listened to my podcast? Check out The Mom Confidential!

boy sitting in overstuffed chairboy sleeping with stuffed animal

If Your Child Has Trouble Falling Asleep

Sometimes kids have trouble falling asleep. Especially as they try to transition back into a more traditional sleep schedule for the school year. If you notice that this is happening on a regular basis, keep a sleep diary. This can help you uncover the causes of a child’s sleep problems.

Check out the KnowYourOTCs site for more details on starting a sleep diary, especially if you are planning to talk to your child’s doctor about it.

toddler sleepingchild napping

Important Reminder For All Parents

Never give your child an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine to make them sleepy. Always read the label before giving your child an OTC medicine. OTC cold and flu medicines may contain diphenhydramine, which can cause drowsiness. It is important to only treat your child with the right OTC medicine. Only treat the symptoms they are presenting, don’t use them to aid in sleep.

mom and son kissboy sitting in swinging chair

Make Sure Your Kids Are Sleep Ready

As we stretch out these last days of summer sunshine, we know that the mornings of trying to wrangle the kids into their classroom are almost here. Equipping the kids with the right amount of sleep and a solid sleep schedule is quickly becoming a priority as we prepare for going back to school.
As a mom, I am making it my business to ensure they are adequately rested, so they can thrive and happily engage throughout each school day. To learn more about the importance of proper sleep routines with kids, I encourage you to visit KnowYourOTCs.org.

Worn-out kids also eat differently than those who are well-rested. Over time, kids who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be obese as they get older.

mindy kaling quoteboy sitting in bed


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5 thoughts on “Go Back to School With Proper Sleep Schedules”

  1. I love the pics, omg;) Thanks for the reminder, we try and reinstall the school-sleep schedule about a week out and that’s been good. Also the new guidelines are good to know!


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