Helping parents set up a simple school night ritual for well rested and happy kids.
Whether you have kids that need to be up early for school or sporting events or just simply want happy and well-rested kids who homeschool, a routine is important.
I know a lot of parents who have kids who stay at home do not have a routine, simply because they don’t have a set time that they need to be up for in the morning, and that my friends, is a recipe for disaster.
Children who attend a school or complete homeschooling activities need that rest and re-calibration, especially after a fantastically fun summer where bedtime rules are totally broken.
So how do we get back on track?
A school night ritual.
The Importance Of A School Night Ritual
As the school year unfolds, the significance of a school night ritual becomes increasingly evident in the lives of students. From the first day of school in public schools to the junior years of middle schoolers, this school ritual is not just any routine; it’s a cornerstone of their daily lives.
In a world where young people are constantly bombarded with peer pressure and the allure of social media, school days can sometimes become overwhelming. Amidst the frenzy of making new friends, adapting to a new area, and trying to fit in, students often find solace in the familiar and comforting embrace of their school tradition.
A school night ritual is more than just a classic mode of unwinding; it’s a lifeline for high schoolers navigating the tumultuous waters of academic and social life. It provides a moment of respite, a little bit of normalcy, and a chance to reconnect with what truly matters.
For those attending Sonoma Valley High School, Friday night becomes a fugitive night from the chaos of the week. It’s a night when they can dive into the world’s largest ebookstore, escaping into different realms and adventures. It’s also a night when they can have easier access to the best friend who always stood by their side, a good book.
In a society flooded with fake content and distractions, this nightly routine offers a great way to escape the noise and immerse oneself in the world of literature. It’s a chance to develop new rituals, explore new worlds, and acquire knowledge that extends beyond the confines of textbooks.
So, as the next month unfolds, and the pressures of the school year continue to mount, remember the importance of a school night ritual. It’s not just a little thing; it’s a crucial anchor in the lives of young people, providing comfort, solace, and a sense of normalcy in an ever-changing world.
Need more bedtime tips?
Tips for Creating a School Night Ritual
As a mom of three, I can tell you that establishing a school night ritual isn’t always easy. It takes time and effort to get into the habit of doing it every night. But trust me, it’s worth it.
So, if you’re ready to give it a try, here are a few tips for creating a school night ritual that works for your family:
Make it consistent: Choose a set of activities that you do every night, and try to stick to them as closely as possible. This can help your kids know what to expect and get into the routine more easily.
Make it enjoyable: Your school night ritual doesn’t have to be all about chores and responsibilities. Make sure to include some fun activities that your kids will look forward to, like reading a bedtime story or playing a quiet game together.
Make it age-appropriate: Your school night ritual should be tailored to your kids’ ages and needs.
For younger kids, you might include more activities like baths and story time, while older kids might benefit more from independent tasks like packing their bags and getting their homework done.
Make it flexible: It’s okay to be flexible with your school night ritual – after all, life doesn’t always go as planned. But try to keep the core activities consistent, and be willing to adjust if something isn’t working for your family.
With a little planning and patience, you can create a school night ritual that helps your kids wind down, prepare for the next day, and get the rest they need to thrive.
A Simple School Night Ritual
We have a fairly strict school night routine and we always start it the same way, with a bath and a bedtime snack.
I know what you’re thinking, the kids ate dinner, why should they get a snack? Well a child with a full tummy is more likely to follow directions and fall asleep easy, so in my opinion, a bedtime snack is important. You’ll make the right decision for your own family though, you don’t have to follow MY routine.
Our routine starts at 7pm with a shower or a bath. We wash up every second evening.
7:00 – Shower/bath
7:15 – Bedtime snack
7:25 – Brush teeth, wash face, use the toilet
7:30 – Grab fresh glasses of water for the bedside table
7:35 – Read a story aloud
7:45 – Time to sleep
It’s a pretty “tight” routine, but I made it this way so there is no room for wandering around which leads to distracted kids that are impossible to round back up.
Most of the nights go according to plan but the most important thing that leads to the success of this routine is consistency.
Another thing to note is even though your children could be old enough to go through this routine on their own, you may want to be right there to supervise closely and lend a helping hand if needed.
For example, brushing teeth could be a simple task but you may end up with a pretty yucky sink afterwards. If you help your child out, you can quickly wipe the sink down, making your life of keeping a clean home much less stressful.
You can assist your child with the pajamas if you like as well, but always encourage them to do things on their own, so that their confidence grows daily.
See also: Brilliant Sleep Clocks For Toddlers
Ensuring Your Little One Gets The Rest They Need
When setting up a school night ritual, you’re going to want to keep in mind the amount of sleep your child requires.
For example, according to WEBMD a 3-6 year old requires 10-12 hours of sleep per night. This means that if they are waking up at 7am for school in the morning, they should be asleep by 7pm the night before at the latest.
When To Start Preparing Your Child For Earlier School Mornings After A Long Break
After a long break from learning such as Summer or Spring break when many families take a break from routines as well, you’ll want to introduce routine back into your lives a minimum of 1 week before school starts back up.
Now you could be thinking that’s a long time, and if the children are homeschooled you may not want to start a routine at all. Routines are really important, they actually help children know what to expect from their day and this kind of structure and knowledge helps reduce tantrums and bad attitude.
The one important thing about routines is that they don’t just magically happen to change your life overnight. It may take a whole week to get your child to properly adjust to a new routine, and there could be some resistance at first from your children about the whole thing. The important thing is you don’t give up, and adjust the routine if it is truly not working out for you.
Feel free to use our nightly routine as a guide. You may need to adjust your timing that suits your needs better. We like to keep things on a tighter schedule when things need to actually get done, but it’s been successful for us for years so we won’t be changing it or relaxing the timeline on it anytime soon.
More Like this
- Distance interventions for sleep issues: A study evaluated a program called “Better Nights/Better Days,” which is a distance intervention for insomnia in school-aged children. It showed significant reductions in sleep problems and improvements in psychosocial functioning (Corkum et al., 2016).
- Brush Day & Night Program: This program, aimed at promoting good oral health behaviors, demonstrated effectiveness in improving children’s knowledge and behavior compared with a control population. Implementing such structured programs can be part of a healthy bedtime routine (Melo et al., 2021).
- School-based sleep education program: A program named “Sleep for Success”™ improved sleep and academic performance of school-age children. It addressed children, their family, school staff, and decision-makers, showing that a comprehensive approach involving multiple stakeholders can be effective (Gruber et al., 2016).
- Ritual participation: Participation in rituals was found to increase children’s affiliation with in-group members. Incorporating ritualistic elements into bedtime routines can foster a sense of belonging and community (Wen et al., 2016).
- Addressing sleep problems in elementary school: Inconsistent bedtime routines and use of audio devices at bedtime were associated with an increased risk of child sleep problems. Tailoring routines to avoid these risk factors is crucial (Uebergang et al., 2017).
- Interventions stimulating healthy sleep: Multi-behavioral interventions that include creating daily healthy routines and combining intervention settings (e.g., home and school) showed promise in stimulating healthy sleep duration and adherence to regular bedtimes (Busch et al., 2017).