Any parent of school-aged kids can probably tell you some stories of their struggles at bedtime. Hey, it’s happened to all of us. Tantrums, arguments, backtalk, feet-dragging (literal or figurative)….if you haven’t experienced a bedtime battle, consider yourself one of the lucky few!
Bedtimes can get even more challenging when it’s back-to-school time. Schools in our area return in early August, so the starting-school-in-the-dog-days-of-summer transition can be extra eventful where bedtime is concerned (“But Mom, the sun’s still up!”).
Today, I’ve got some simple tips to make your bedtimes and back-to-school days pain-free for all involved!
[Many thanks to Orajel™ for sponsoring today’s post and providing my little guy with a great bedtime book and some PAW Patrol™ tooth brushing fun!]
Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips (To Keep Your Family Sane)
My son, Rowan, is three and is in preschool, so his routine will probably be a little different than one for an older school-aged child. However, these bedtime tips can surely help out anyone who’s coming up on back-to-school time….even college kids!
Establish New Earlier Bedtimes & Wakeups Before the School Year Starts
A week or two before your child is set to start school, gradually ease them into an earlier bedtime. Just ten or fifteen minutes earlier each night will really make the transition smoother for all involved (mom and dad included). Also have them start waking up earlier and earlier too, but once again, gradually!
Instead of going cold-turkey with new bedtimes and wake-up calls WHEN school starts, baby steps BEFORE the first day are the name of the game (but unfortunately, mornings with alarm clocks are always no fun no matter what).
Give a Friendly Warning to Prepare for Bedtime
Most people probably appreciate a little advanced notice when getting ready for a change, right? Well, kids are no different. With my son, we always tell him “You have a few minutes till bedtime, Boo.” And to most people, “a few” normally means a very small number (or three to be precise), but for us, it can really be anywhere from five to twenty or more minutes (three-year-olds don’t know any better).
This helps him anticipate what’s coming up and prevents any tantrums or arguments when he’d rather keep playing. This “few minutes” warning also works wonders when it’s time for other transitions, like leaving the playground.
All it takes is that simple phrase, then when we finally say “Ok, time for bed,” he’s off to his room with little to no fuss. Friendly warning = easing into wind down mode = bedtime bliss.
Take Care of All (or Most of) the School Stuff Before Bed
Whatever school-related tasks you can take care of after dinner (if not earlier), do them! This includes all things related to the next school day: complete all homework assignments that are due, fill out any parental forms or paperwork, pack up all supplies in backpacks, and get a jump start of packing the lunches too.
Because who likes hearing “Mom, you need to fill out my permission slip!” or “Dad, I forgot to do my math homework!” as you’re all heading out the door or pulling into the car drop-off line?? Rushed, chaotic mornings are no fun for anyone.
Get Prepped for Morning Prep the Night Before
This is along the same lines of the previous tip, but other non-schoolwork preparation for the following day is so much easier when done the night before. Take baths/showers after dinner, set out what clothes and shoes will be worn, maybe even get a head start on what’s for breakfast.
It all goes back to that old saying: Why put off to tomorrow what you can do today? Not only will your mornings be less hectic, but you’ll all be able to get a few more minutes of shut-eye!
Set Up (and Keep) a Nightly Bedtime Routine
Kids are creatures of habit, and bedtime runs much smoother when they know what’s expected of them before climbing under the covers. Whatever your nightly routine consists of, just make sure you’re consistent with it….that’s what makes it a routine after all.
Our back-to-school bedtime routine looks like this:
- Bath & Schoolwork Prep: Daddy gives Rowan his bath after dinner while Mom here cleans up from meal time. I also make sure everything school-related is complete and in Rowan’s backpack, and then I get a start on packing his lunch (just the non-chilled things….those get added in the morning).
- Morning Prep: While the boys are having fun with bath time, I’ll sneak into Rowan’s room and pull out that night’s pajamas, and also his outfit and shoes for the next day (Daddy can’t be trusted with this task yet).
- Playtime!: Rowan then gets dried off and put into his pajamas, then there’s some playtime.
- “Few Minutes” Warning: Mom or Dad will give the “Few Minutes” warning followed by the call for bedtime a “few minutes” later.
- Bathroom Time: Rowan goes to the potty, washes his hands, and brushes his teeth….and since he’s a big PAW Patrol™ fan, he’s particularly fond of teeth brushing time thanks to his new Orajel™ PAW Patrol™ Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste and Orajel™ PAW Patrol™ Toothbrush. I, on the other hand, usually can’t get that darned theme song out of my head for days….
- Quality Bonding Time: More on this below, but this is where either I or Daddy will read a book or two aloud to Rowan, then chat while snuggling in bed with him about his day, what our plans are for tomorrow, or big events that are coming up. It’s a great wrap-up to our day.
Have Some Quality Bonding Time
Like I mentioned above, this is the final step in our bedtime routine, and honestly, it’s my favorite (I think it’s the boys’ favorite too). Rowan LOVES story time and will grab book after book (after book) if you’d let him. He has an overflowing library in his room, our playroom, and on his tablet, and we are always happy to oblige his love for books by reading a story or two aloud to him right before bedtime.
We also like to frequent the 100 Best Read Aloud Books from the Read2Me Tonight site to add some great new stories to our rotation. A really cute bedtime book is the FREE Scholastic e-book, The Three Bees. It’s perfect for kids ages five and under and helps them learn the importance of having a nightly routine, which is particularly beneficial during back-to-school.
These sites are available to all parents, so feel free to check them out. They’re amazing resources that help encourage a solid nightly routine that includes brushing teeth and reading aloud. Remember: Brush, Book, Bed!
So what about you? Any great back-to-school bedtime routine tips you’d like to share??
Thanks so much for stopping by!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ORAJEL. The opinions and text are all mine.