How to Get Your Kids’ Sleep Schedule Ready for School

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      Manic:  My kids’s sleep schedule during summer break.

Managed:  Receiving this terrific article from our writer and school teacher, Lisa Walton about how to get kids back on track when it comes to sleep and school!  So read on and get your kiddos ready to head back to school ready and rested!

Lisa says:

The last days of summer are quickly dwindling down.  Here in Arizona kids are already returning to school.  While kids and teens may be tempted to spend these last weeks staying up late and sleeping in; that isn’t the best plan.  Here are some tips to get your kids back on a school schedule, and facts about SLEEP that are important for you to know!

How to get your kids’ sleep schedule ready for school:

1. Several weeks before school starts develop a plan.  Start with their typical summer bedtime and wake-up time.   Then gradually move these times earlier (about 15 minutes every other day, time permitting) as the start of school approaches.

2. Spend the last days of summer with early mornings rather than late nights. Try to do activities in the bright light of the morning: be outside, swim, play with friends, but do it outdoors.  Don’t remain cooped up inside, or spend time in front of the TV, and video games.  Get some fresh air and exercise!

3. Consistency is KEY! Set and keep a bedtime and wake-up schedule even on weekends, this will help in the adjustment to an earlier school schedule.

4. Create an environment that’s conducive for sleep:  cool, dark, quiet and comfortable.

5. Preparing for sleep – avoid exercising or doing anything too thought-provoking in the last couple of hours before going to bed.  Do something quiet, like reading before bed, this sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to wind-down and prepare to sleep.  TV and the light from computers are too stimulating right before bed.

6.  Limit caffeine, especially in the afternoons and start a healthier back-to-school diet.  Meals set the stage for successful sleep. Prepare quality meals and begin to adjust the time of these meals to the time they will be served during the school year. This includes not only dinner, but serving lunches at the time lunch is served at school.


 According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 60% of U.S.children ages 5 to 17 feel tired at some point during the school day and that 1 in 4 feel tired most of the time.

  • Sleep Makes you Smarter:  any amount of sleep deprivation diminishes mental performance.  Lack of sleep causes temporary loss of I.Q. points (National Institute of Health). One sleepless night has the same impact as legally intoxicating alcohol levels in the blood, making it nearly impossible to pay attention or retain new information.
  • Sleep Deprivation can be mistaken for ADD:  National Institutes of Health revealed that an alarming number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) were instead suffering from chronic sleep deprivation. According to Abortowski, “Sleep deprivation mimics the symptoms present in children with AD/HD — poor concentration, mood swings, irritability, and reaction control — yet is often not asked about when the disease is first diagnosed.”


The National Sleep Foundation suggests the following guidelines for children:

  • 6- to 9-year-olds need about 10 hours of sleep a night.
  • 10- to 12-year-olds need a little over nine hours each night.
  • Teenagers should aim for eight to nine hours per night.


About our writer Lisa Walton:

Lisa Walton–Parenting tips, Valley Teacher and Mother

Lisa Walton has been a teacher in the Valley for over 18 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University; and Master’s Degree in Special Education from Arizona State University.  She currently works as an itinerant teacher, collaborating with regular education teachers in the public schools.


Read more about Lisa on our team bio page