Getting Kids on a Back to School Sleep Schedule Is Tough

Sleepy teenI have a confession. For the past week since Tween Girl has been back in school, I’ve had almost as hard of a time readjusting to her regular schedule as she has. We’ll be cruising along in our evening, doing whatever the heck we want to do for however long we want to do it, before the angel who taps scatterbrained mothers like me drops down and makes me realize: Oh. The Kid has school tomorrow.

Moms are generally the ones who have it together, true, but my mind is still grasping for the easy breezy days of summer. That makes it even more of a challenge to get my child back on routine after she’s spent the last umpteen weeks pulling all-night sleepovers, playing endless rounds of Xbox games, and riding out the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marathons on TV Land.


I always have good intentions to start the progressive transition back to a 9:00 bedtime over the last two weeks before she has to strap on her bookbag again. But I must admit that I’m as much of a problem as she is. I like the freedom of not having to worry about homework and projects, and going to the store without having to pick up fruit for lunch and knee-high socks for her uniform. Hanging on to those warm weather habits doesn’t make the switch back to the structured life any easier.

So I know from experience that the only person waking up and not sleeping through the alarm is the same person sitting here writing about waking up and not sleeping through the alarm.

It’s not like it’s ever really easy to jolt her into alertness in the morning in the first place. It’s a cycle: I do an initial shake in my sweet, nice Mommy voice. Go do something else. Circle back to nudge her in a less gentle but still kind tone. Go do something else. Then come back for a third and final time with a threat or a holler that stinks with bad attitude. By then, it’s usually crunch time to get all of our odds and ends done before we can leave the house fully prepared for the day — lunches and clothes all in tact.

While I was cruising the ‘net a few days ago, I stumbled across an article with some tips for getting kids back to school sleep habits. It wasn’t anything I didn’t already know. Pretty common sense, even for a mother who spends the first three weeks of September trying to remind herself that it’s inappropriate to suggest a movie at 8 p.m. or experiment with a new recipe until 11:30 that night.

But hey, I’ll take all the direction I can get. It’s going to be a rough next few weeks for the free-spirited gals in the Harris household.

How do you get your kids back on track to get their shuteye?


Image via husin.sani/Flickr

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