The start of the new school year is fast approaching. Toddlers will be beginning preschool, and preschoolers will be starting kindergarten. It’s not too early to start adjusting your child’s sleep schedule. To take advantage of the extra daylight and evening family activities, children are often allowed to stay up a little later during the summer months than they are during the school year. Without the pressure of school schedules, children can sleep in or nap longer during the summer months to get the 10 to 12 hours of daily sleep they need.
Once the school year starts, however, the luxury of sleeping in or taking long naps disappears. With the family on the move earlier in the morning, children need to go to bed earlier to make sure they get the amount of sleep they need to stay happy and healthy. Sleep training for toddlers and younger children prior to the start of school can help children adjust to new daily rhythms successfully.
It’s best to help your children make the transition to an earlier bedtime gradually over several weeks. Beginning 3 to 4 weeks before the start of school, start your child’s normal bedtime routine half an hour earlier each week until you reach the desired bedtime. Bedtime videos for toddlers and other toddler sleep aids such as soothing musical CDs can help your toddler wind down and relax so he is ready for sleep at the new bedtime.