Last updated on April 4th, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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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

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Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!