Back to School Sleep Schedule for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Back to School Sleep Schedule for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Get On Track for Sleep Ahead of This Year’s Back to School!

The go-with-the-flow Summer vibe can’t last forever. When school days are slowly creeping back up, whether your child is preparing for preschool or kindergarten and beyond, getting them in a school night bedtime routine can certainly be a drag. 

Keep reading, for our top tips on how to get your little one ready for bed to ensure they’re well rested and ready to learn and grow. 

What time should toddlers go to bed for school?

Toddlers between the age of 1 -5 need an average of 12-14 hours per day. Any naps your child takes during the day can be added to that sleep bank. The average two year old naps for around two hours a day, leaving a minimum of 10 hours that they should be getting overnight. Doing some simple sleep math can help you determine exactly what time you should be putting your toddler to bed for school. Each child is different, and those that nap longer during the day may be able to get away with a later school night bedtime. 

How do I get my child back on a school sleep schedule?

Getting your child on a school sleep schedule can be tough, but practicing that schedule well before school starts can make actual school nights less of a fight. Stay consistent and adjust their bedtime accordingly, even if it's just in 15 minute increments each week, to align with their school bedtime. Set a goal of upholding that schedule for at least one whole week before school starts. 

What should a 2 year old sleep schedule be?

As we’ve mentioned before, every child is different - especially at 2 years old. This formative phase of toddlerhood can make for a wide range of “normal” sleep schedules. Here’s an example of what a 2-year-old’s healthy sleep schedule might look like:

Wake up: 6:30 PM

Nap: 12:30-2 PM

Bedtime: 7:00 PM

Keep in mind that nap times may vary based on daycare, preschool, or home schedules but most two year olds do still require a mid-day nap. 

How do I wake my toddler up for school?

Waking your toddler up can feel like playing a bad game of Operation where you always lose. However, there are some ways to ensure your toddler wakes up for school in a happy, peaceful way with a positive attitude like playing/singing their favorite song to wake them up or having breakfast ready. Avoid abrupt, stressful wake-ups, even if your morning is getting started a little late. We know you have a lot going on, but do your best to stay calm. 

How do I get my 2-year-old to sleep in daycare?

Here's the thing, 2-year-olds thrive on routine. If you are consistent with your nap routine outside of daycare, your tiny tot should be more willing to go down for a nap without too much of a fight while they are at daycare. It is a good idea to learn about your child’s schedule at daycare and if your schedule allows on the days when they are at home with you, mimic that schedule - particularly adhering to naptime. This will not only benefit your toddler, but you and their care provider as well. If your 2-year-old has a lovey, stuffed animal, or any other comfort item, ask your daycare provider if you can send that with them to help make naptime a little bit more comfortable for your little one. Just be prepared for it to get a little bit roughed up while your toddler drags it around, sometimes it’s best to get a double of your toddler’s comfort item if you’re going to be sending it to daycare - just in case. 

When should toddlers stop napping?

As your little one grows older, they may drop naps altogether. There is no magical number when it comes to what age your toddler should stop napping at, though. Your toddler’s willingness to nap may wax and wane once they hit three or four, often dropping naps altogether by the age of five. You might notice a week or two where your toddler naps consistently, followed by a couple of weeks where their batteries are fully charged until bedtime. This chaotic nap pattern can be due to a number of reasons including growth spurts, life changes, and changes to their bedtime routines. 

Tips for improving your child’s back-to-school bedtime routine:

When your little child is getting ready to head back to school, their ever changing nap habits can cause some anxiety as you start to think about their back-to-school bedtime routine. Here are some tips to make sure your child is well-rested and ready for school the following day, whether they still nap or not. 

  1. Make the transition between their summer sleep schedule and their school sleep schedule as gentle as possible. This means setting alarms and waking them up closer and closer to their regular school wake-up time a few weeks before school starts, and do the same for their bedtime as well. A gentle transition will help prepare their body’s natural circadian rhythm, or internal alarm clock, to align with their school schedule.
  2. Cut off electronics after a certain time. TVs, tablets, and other electronics emit blue light, which is proven to interfere with production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Swapping their moving for a less stimulating activity such as reading or drawing before bed can allow for the production of melatonin and help prepare your child’s body for sleep.
  3. Create a sleep friendly environment. Black out curtains, sound machines, and cozy blankets such as Dreamland Baby’s Weighted Toddler Blankets can help set the scene for a restful night’s sleep.  As a bonus, weighted blankets can actually help with the production of that sleep hormone we were talking about earlier. 
  4. Stay consistent! Sticking to your child’s sleep schedule and keeping the same pre-bedtime routine will make bedtime easier overtime, and in turn making school wake-ups easier. 

Setting bedtime boundaries and creating an environment conducive to sleep can not only help improve your child’s back to school bedtime routine, but can also contribute to your child’s development and overall well-being. 

Conclusion

Whatever your child’s sleep needs are, we got you. Dreamland Baby’s sleep solutions are designed in close partnership with Pediatricians, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Nurses and Certified Sleep Consultants and have been reviewed by Pulmonologists to ensure that your child sleeps safely, so you can sleep soundly too. Sleeping well is important to not only ensure your child’s academic and social success in their school environment, but it is important for their overall health and wellness as well. 

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