Back-to-School Zzz’s: Transitioning to Early Wake-Ups

Most school-age children require 11 to 13 hours of sleep every night. Younger children require even more shut-eye.

Most school-age children require 11 to 13 hours of sleep every night. Younger kids require even more shut-eye. Photo courtesy:

We’re approaching the countdown to the beginning of the school year, and the summer vacation is winding down. With a few weeks until the return of homework, rides to school, and early morning wake-up calls, now may be the best time to adjust your children’s sleep schedule.

Chances are your little ones have been taking advantage of the break by late bedtimes, and late wake-ups. Taking a few steps now may help them better transition to the inevitable early mornings.

Sleep affects how children function. Photo courtesy:

Sleep affects how children function. Photo courtesy:

Sleep affects how children think and function, so a proper good night’s rest is crucial. It is important to note preschoolers require 11 to 13 hours of sleep every night. If your child is a little older, school-age, 10 to 11 hours are a must in order to function adequately, according to the National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends parents to gradually adjust their children’s sleep schedule a few weeks before the start of the school year. Following a few simple tips can make the first week of school run a lot smoother:

  • Return to a sleep schedule appropriate for school about two weeks before classes start by setting an earlier bedtime every night.
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Once a sleep schedule is established, stick with it!
  • Set a relaxing bedtime routine, free from TV, video games, phones, or other gadgets. Before bedtime, establish a “quiet time” to allow your child to unwind.
  • Avoid big meals or caffeine late in the evening. A heavy meal, sodas and other caffeinated drinks can prevent a child from falling asleep. A good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine six hours before going to bed.
  • Maintain a peaceful bedroom environment. A dark room, comfortable bed, and appropriate room temperature will allows children to sleep better.

Remember, the sooner you begin a sleep pattern prior to the start of the school year, the better! Waking up on the first day of school will be less painful.

Speak with your family’s pediatrician if your child experiences regular sleep problems. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 69 percent of children under 10 years old have some type of sleep condition, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or sleepwalking. Your doctor can determine if it is serious, and can recommend a course of action.


Child Care Access at Your Fingertips


A Collaborative for Children Consultant answers child care questions over the phone.

Finding a child care center or home that you trust is extremely important, no matter how old your little one is, and searching for the right one can be intimidating. But with a few clicks, QualiFind™ is here to help!

Collaborative for Children’s free online child care database, QualiFind™ has been helping families choose child care for more than 20 years, and can help you choose child care programs that meet your standards, as well as your family’s needs. Access is completely free, and you can narrow down your searches by providing a zip code, address, or school’s name.

Parents can make an informed decision based on a center’s accreditation, teacher tenure, and group sizes. Checklists are also available, and can be used during tours to outline what parents should look out for.

Our experienced Parent Educators can give you piece of mind by addressing your questions and concerns. Consultants are available to offer complimentary phone consultations, center referrals, or guidance. They may be reached at 713-600-1234 or by dialing 2-1-1.

Parents credit Collaborative for Children’s experienced staff with making their child care search much easier. “Wonderful staff,” Andrea Castillo said. “They were extremely helpful, and cut my search time in half. Thank you!”


Sunshine Child Care center students.

Three Sunshine Child Care center students share their future aspirations.


A Sunshine Child Care center student learns how to count.