Back to school time: Returning to a routine

Start easing back into a fall routine now

Now is the time to start easing kids back into a routine, say pediatricians at The Austin Diagnostic Clinic. Many Central Texas school districts return to class over the next few weeks. Gradually transitioning back to a fall routine now will help you and your kids adjust to school more easily.

Set new schedules

Chances are, bedtimes and mornings were more relaxed over the summer break. The sun is out longer and bedtimes may be later. Ease kids back into an earlier bedtime gradually so the change in schedule is not so jarring.

Figure out when they will need to wake for school and how much sleep they need each night. Each night, move bedtime back 15 to 30 minutes and each morning, wake kids earlier by 15 to 30 minutes.

Sleep requirements

  • Ages 3-6 – 10-12 hours / night
  • Ages 7-12 – 10-11 hours / night
  • Ages 12-18 – 8-9 hours / night

Start adjusting your daily activities, too. Get kids ready for the school routine by planning activities in the morning or early afternoon, rather than in the evening. Give them more downtime before it’s time to go to bed to help them settle down and sleep.

Also, make a bedtime story part of your routine, says Dr. Sara Woods, ADC pediatrics. She says kids should be reading every night, and hopefully they’ve been doing it all summer, too.

Mirror mealtimes

Bedtime isn’t the only routine that may have relaxed over the summer break. Mealtimes may have also gotten off schedule, too.

Now is a good time to plan out meals and snacks so they will more closely match the school year schedule. Think about when breakfast and dinner will be served when the kids go back to school and plan accordingly.

Try to make sure lunch and snacks are scheduled during the day around the same time they would eat at and after school.

Create buzz

The end of summer can be tough for some children, especially those who will be starting school for the first time. You can help them by talking up all the positive parts of school.

Regularly talk with them about things they will do at school that they can look forward to.