5 Tips to Get Your Child Back On a School Schedule

5 Tips to Get Your Child Back On a School Schedule

August 31, 2018

Summertime is funtime! Long days, trips to the beach, staying up late and sleeping in, fun with friends, video game marathons… vacation is a kid’s dream, and it spreads out before them like an endless adventure. But soon enough, it’s time to start thinking about school again. This can be a challenge for children - and parents! - who have grown accustomed to a different, and often more flexible, schedule.

How can you get your child back on track and in the right mindframe to return to school?


1. Start your sleep schedule changes early.

You know the pattern. Your child stays up (way too!) late and then sleeps (way too) late! If their normal school bedtime is 8:00pm but they sleep until 10:00am, they’re not going to be tired. It’s a hard cycle to break.

The first step: wake them up earlier in the morning. They may not appreciate getting up at, say, 9:00, the first morning, but they will be more tired at night. This allows you to start dialing back bedtime. Keep doing this in the few weeks leading up to the first day of school.

Not quite sure how much sleep your child should be getting? Use this handy chart to find out the number of hours recommended for their age.

2. Prep them for great sleep.

We sleep best in a calm, dark room. Avoid letting your child have devices (phones, tablets, computers, TVs) that can present too much of a temptation.

It’s also a good idea to turn off screens an hour or so before bed. Devices emit blue light, which causes the body to produce less melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleepiness). Research also shows that blue light boosts alpha wavelengths, which make us more aware, and inhibit delta brainwaves, which make us sleepy.

3. Nurish their bodies and brains.

Healthy food is vital to success in school. If your children have had a few too many ice cream cones or hot dogs to celebrate summer, return to a more balanced diet. They should also avoid big snacks or meals and sugary treats before bed.

We all know schedules get busy when school rolls around; now is a good time to think about eating healthy. Stock up on good snacks (nuts, fresh and dried fruits, granola bars, whole grain crackers, bags of carrot and celery sticks, lean proteins, cheese, etc.). If you have some extra time on the weekend, prepare a few freezer meals so you don’t have to succumb to the temptation of fast food when you’re running late.

4. Reduce screentime.

It’s easy to play hours of video games or binge watch your favorite shows in the summer. If your child had a little extra screentime - or a lot! - cut back. Encourage them to unplug, play outside, read books, take advantage of library programs, play boardgames, etc. This will help them break that electronic connection and exercise their bodies and brains.

5. Encourage downtime.

What if your child gets bored when not on electronics? Good! Author, editor, and podcast creator Manoush Zomorodi gave a compelling TED Talk entitled, “How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant Ideas.” She talked to Dr. Sandi Mann, who researches boredom!

Dr. Mann says, “Once you start daydreaming and allow your mind to really wander, you start thinking a little bit beyond the conscious, a little bit into the subconscious, which allows sort of different connections to take place.” When children (and adults) get bored, their minds get busy.

This can “force” your kid to make up fun games or paint a picture or build a rich story in their imaginations. Instead of being spoonfed excitement, they create it. Instead of watching people solve problems, they learn to tackle obstacles themselves. Boredom is quite amazing!

Is your child ready for school? These tips will help with the transition. A whole new type of adventure awaits them as they go back to their classrooms and continue their learning journey. Have a terrific year!


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Blue Light Sleep from Live Science

Boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas