5 Tips for Shifting Your Child to a School Sleep Schedule

Reposted with permission from BlueSprig

Helping your child transition to a school sleep schedule can be a rewarding and empowering experience for parents of children on the autism spectrum. While it may initially seem challenging to adjust to the structured routine of the school year, especially after the more relaxed summer months, there are effective strategies that can make this process smoother. By implementing these 5 tips, parents can ensure their child is energized, refreshed, and fully prepared to embrace each school day with enthusiasm. 

1) Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule 

A consistent sleep schedule in a child’s routine is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, having a predictable routine can bring about positive effects by reducing anxiety and providing a comforting sense of stability. Secondly, a lack of sleep can exacerbate behavioral challenges and difficulties with attention and focus. It is recommended for children to aim for 8-12 hours of sleep each night. Ensuring a regular sleep schedule increases the likelihood of children being well-rested, which can positively impact their overall mood, behavior, and cognitive abilities.

2) Establish a Bedtime Routine 

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is essential for children. Following a predictable sequence of activities each night can help your child wind down and prepare for sleep. Begin by choosing calming activities, such as reading a book or a warm bath, to signal to your child that it’s time to relax.   

3) Gradually Adjust Bedtime and Wake-Up Time 

As you work to transition your child to a school sleep schedule, it’s important to do so gradually. Abruptly changing their bedtime and wake-up time can cause stress and resistance. Instead, make minor adjustments to their schedule each day, slowly shifting their bedtime and wake-up time closer to their school schedule. This will allow their body to adjust and make the transition smoother.  

4) Create a Calming Sleep Environment 

Creating a calming sleep environment is crucial for children to promote relaxation and restful sleep. Start by ensuring the bedroom is free from distractions, such as loud noises or bright lights. Use blackout curtains or a white noise machine to block out disruptive stimuli. Additionally, provide your child with a comfortable, cozy bed using soft blankets and pillows. Incorporating soothing elements like a nightlight or a weighted blanket (if appropriate for their age) can also help create a serene atmosphere. 

5) Implement Visual Aids and Rewards System 

Implementing visual aids and a rewards system can be beneficial when transitioning your child to a school sleep schedule. Visual aids, such as a visual schedule or a picture chart, can provide a clear and understandable visual representation of the bedtime routine. This can help your child understand and anticipate each step in the process. Additionally, a rewards system can motivate and positively reinforce bedtime routines and adherence to the sleep schedule. You can create a sticker chart or a token system where your child earns rewards for following the routine and going to bed on time. This can help make the transition more enjoyable and rewarding for your child, ultimately leading to a smoother adjustment to the school sleep schedule. 

About BlueSprig

BlueSprig is on a mission to change the world for children with autism.

BlueSprig Is the Premier Provider with the Highest Standards in ABA Therapy
Our mission is simple: we are focused on changing the world for children with autism.

The main question we seek the answer to is “what if?”

What if we focus on quality services? What if we are a leader in ABA research? What if we are strong advocates for the rights of all children with autism? Instead of choosing, we’re pursuing all three together – that’s the BlueSprig difference.

Learn more at https://www.bluesprigautism.com/

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About Different Roads to Learning

Our Difflearn blog was created specifically for sharing. Here, we’ll collaborate with trusted professionals and parents to share experiences, concerns, new and exciting products and events and best of all, our collective treasure of information. It is our hope that you will find the information posted here helpful, practical, and interesting and that it will help all of us – especially our children – learn and grow. And this is just the beginning…We hope that professionals and parents who have advice, information or a story to share will contact us and submit thoughts and ideas for blog posts. We intend for this to be a true community and all who are interested in the education of our ASD children are invited to participate.