How to Get Back to a School Night Bedtime Routine

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So if you’re anything like me, you have gotten a little (lot!) lax with bedtimes over the summer. I personally find it really hard to be motivated to enforce a good bedtime when we have nowhere to be in the morning. With that being said though, back to school is right around the corner and it’s time to get back to a school night bedtime routine.

My kids don’t always do well with sudden transitions, so I usually need to ease them into things like an earlier bedtime. My steps for transitioning into a school night bedtime is more of a slow process. You can definitely do it quickly, but I find it works a little better if you stretch it out over a few weeks.

How to Get Back to a School Night Bedtime Routine

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Start your school night bedtime routine 1-2 weeks before school starts.

After the wild, wild days of summer, it’s going to take some time to get back to a regular bedtime routine. I suggest you start putting your school bedtime routine into effect 1-2 weeks before school even starts. This gives everyone enough time to get used to following the new routine.

Bedtime Routine Checklist

If your kids are older, you can download this cool bedtime routine checklist for them to do on their own. My kids are younger, so I work through this checklist with them. It’s super helpful for developing independence and personal responsibility.

Start moving bedtime up by 15-30 minutes each night.

Once you have your bedtime routine established, you can start moving bedtime up by 15-30 minutes each night.  My family is a bunch of night owls, so when we don’t have anywhere to be in the mornings, we will stay up super late. This means that towards the end of the summer, they might be going to bed around 10 pm or later.

If I tried to change their bedtime to 8 pm suddenly, they would never go to sleep. (And as all moms know, that is kind of the worst thing ever!)  Moving it up a little each night makes the transition a lot smoother. I have 3 kids… I’m all about smooth transitions.

Limit sugary snacks after dinner.

Limiting sugary snacks is another way to transition to a school night bedtime routine. Sugary snacks tend to get kids a little wound up and hyper. The exact opposite of what we want when it’s time for them to go to bed. I have noticed that my kids especially settle down better in the evenings with less sugar.

If you still want to keep the spirit of summer alive with treats, you can simply move them to right after lunch instead of after dinner. Or cut them out altogether if you can get away with it.

kid jumping on the bed

Limit screen time an hour before bedtime.

Limiting screen time an hour before bed falls into the same category as limiting sugary snacks. Screens can often stimulate our kids and make it hard for them to sleep. I know with my own kids, they go to sleep waaay easier when I cut the electronics off an hour before bed. Sometimes I think they fall asleep out of boredom! (Whatever works though right??)

Encourage quiet activities before bedtime.

To help fill that hour of screen time at my house, I usually try to substitute some quiet independent activities before bedtime. Anything they can do without me that doesn’t get them all riled up is usually what I suggest. For example, my kids will:

  • read books
  • play with puzzles
  • color
  • play with stuffed animals


So those are my suggestions to help get back to a school night bedtime routine. Those are the things I do with my own kids that help us go from late summer nights to earlier more routine evenings as we gear up for back to school.

If you have any questions or suggestions for how you get your kids into a school night bedtime routine, comment below or email me at You can also follow me on Pinterest here for more parenting tips and suggestions. 

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How to Get Back to a School Night Bedtime Routine

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