Helping Children Sleep: 6 Back-to-School Sleep Tips

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  • September 08, 2011

After a few months of throwing your schedule to the wind due to vacations, traveling, long days, BBQs and family fun, the time has come to get back on to a healthy sleep schedule!

Here are some back-to-school sleep tips for helping children sleep:

1. If your child’s wake up time has been all over the board, then start to wake them up earlier in the morning.

You can even start by waking them up at the time they need to get up once school or daycare starts. This will help you move bedtime earlier quickly.

2. To figure out your child’s ideal bedtime, do “the math backwards”.

For example, if your 2 year old needs to be up at 7am to get dressed and out the door to daycare then he should be ASLEEP by 8pm. (Two year olds need on average11 hours of sleep at night). Check this post for sleep averages.

3. It goes without saying that you should eliminate caffeine from your child’s diets.

If you can’t do it completely then no caffeine after 3pm.

4. Dinner should be at least 2 hours prior to bedtime so that your child gets a chance to digest.

5. Exercise during the day does help a child sleep better but try to avoid exercise an hour before bedtime.

Please include rough housing in this rule which can really rile up a child just when you want them to be settling down. (Sorry Dads).

6. Turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime.

During this time your child can complete homework, get their bags together for the next day, wash up, brush teeth, then blinds down and stories in bed. By the way, we adults should turn off electronics one hour prior to bed also.

If your child needs to learn how to put themselves to sleep independently then post-vacation and post-traveling time is often the best time! Always aim for at least 3 weeks where you can be home and focused on helping your children sleep!

Sweet dreams,


The Sleep Lady

Was this article helpful to you? Please tell us by commenting below! For more baby, toddler, and family sleep tips and tricks, please subscribe to The Sleep Lady’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube channel! If you are looking for more sleep content, please check out Get Sleep Now-an exclusive members-only area designed to provide in-depth help and support during your sleep coaching experience.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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  • Sarah R. says:

    Do you have any back to preschool nap tips? My son, who is 2 yrs old, just started preschool. He sleeps 11 – 11.5 hours at night and takes 2 hour naps. However, at school he won’t nap. Any suggestions on how to encourage it when I’m not at school with him?

  • Healthy Lifestyle Magazine says:

    Thanks Kim! Such a valuable information. It really helps a lot.

  • Number 6 was the effective for me, washing up, brushing teeth make me feel so comfortable and easy to go asleep. 

  • Digest It says:

    Thanks for the post, Kim. I believe that the number need for children this age is sleep, and lots of it. I think adults should apply some of these tips as well, as we sometimes forget that as our bodies also need adequate amounts of sleep to be able to function properly.

  • David Berg says:

    “Dinner should be at least 2 hours prior to bedtime”..yup that’s right IF you can get her to eat! LOL
    Nice reminders thank you

  • David Berg says:

    “Dinner should be at least 2 hours prior to bedtime”..yup that’s right IF you can get her to eat! LOL
    Nice reminders thank you
    Frank @

  • Tender says:

    Nice post. It is best tips for me. I really happy to read this story……..