The First Weeks of School

It’s really hard to believe we are back to new school supplies, a fresh list of lunch box ideas, rearranging sleep schedules and a new school year!  Even with engaging in a relaxed summer, somehow it buzzes by.  August is here; welcome 2018-2019 school year!

This year is a little more emotional for me as my eldest has officially started her school journey; the 5 days-a-week seemingly for the rest of her life school journey.  Okay, yes, a little dramatic – but the emotions are real.  đź™‚  Being a past teacher, I fully respect and support school in all aspects – yet being a mother, the emotions are real when your first born (or any child!) goes to school.  Either way, I am quickly reminded of some important aspects of these first weeks of school.  


Take it easy.  The first days and weeks of school are a lot to take in, especially for the younger children.  Keep after school activities limited and focus on going home to relax and unwind.  Children are bombarded with so many firsts:  new schools, new routines, new faces, new schedules…it can be a lot to absorb.  To help them with these transitions, it’s best to keep life easy and low-key.   A great analogy is how we adults may feel after the first week in a new job; exhuasted!


Fridays are for rest.  After the first full week of school, leave Friday afternoon/night open.  All activities can wait.  Instead, cuddle up at home, have a pizza and movie night, along with a great nights sleep.  It’s likely been a very full week and rest is best.


Be patient.  With all those new experiences and emotions, it’s likely your child will have more breakdowns or tantrums.  Be patient.  It’s not that they are trying to “be bad”, instead they are working through a lot.  Be the calm to their storm; don’t take it personally.  


Early to bed.  The most effective way to work through the first weeks of school is to respect an earlier bedtime.  Bedtime may be 30-75 minutes earlier than “normal”.  Remember the earlier bedtime isn’t forever, yet it is imperative in making the first weeks a smooth and enjoyable transition back into school mode.  Focus on a bedtime that is based on how your child is behaving near the end of the day.  Those emotional rollercoasters, testing limits, behavioral issues, etc are a huge indication that your child is tired and needs more sleep.  To best determine an appropriate bedtime, gauge how your child is doing from ~4:00pm on.  When your child’s behavior changes, then you know bedtime should happen shortly thereafter.  For example, if a major melt down happens around 6:00pm, then it’s important to have your child in bed within 30 minutes…around 6:30pm.  Waiting too long after a mood shift, you’re likely going to miss that sweet window of easy and restorative sleep which will lead to more bedtime battles and challenges.  Earlier to bed = later to rise = more restorative sleep.   Maybe your child is not having a melt down, yet instead seems to have an extra burst of energy?  That too is a sign of over-tiredness.  Use these examples as the best way to determine an appropriate bedtime vs a set clock time.   After the first weeks of school and everyone is well-rested, you can then slowly switch to a more set bedtime based on a clock time.  


Sleep is such a vital part of life that affects everything we do.  The more sleep your child  receives in the first weeks of school, the easier they will adjust, the happier everyone may be and the sooner your all into a new groove of life!  

Valerie Birch

Certified Infant & Child Sleep Consultant at Amazing Little Sleeper
Valerie Birch is a Pediatric Sleep Expert for exhausted families who have tried evvvvverything to get their child to sleep.

Through her informative and supportive blog posts and one-on-one help, she’s here to guide your child into restorative naps and peaceful nights - while making you wonder why you didn’t contact her sooner.

When she’s not consulting?You’ll find her hanging with her 2 children, getting her sweat on at the gym or baking and indulging in warm ooey-googey chocolate-chip cookies….hobbies that balance each other out!

Meet Valerie + prepare yourself for Amazing Sleep ahead…
Valerie Birch

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