In many parts of the country, school is back in full swing.  And if your kids aren't back yet, it's likely that they will be soon.  That means that the lazy days of summer have come to a close and it's time for those early morning wake up routines.  If your child is not naturally an early riser, this may be easier said than done.  But there's no getting around it.  Those school bells don't wait for anyone, and unless your child wants to spend his afternoons in the principal's office, he needs to learn how to wake up with the crows.  And the best way to help him do that without a fight is to help him get a good night's sleep.

Here's how to help them catch some more zzz's.

1. Set them up to sleep.  It help when they were babies and it will help again now that they're tweens and teens.  Help your child establish a bedtime routine that preps their minds for sleep.  A small snack followed by teeth brushing and face washing is a good start.  As is quiet reading at the end of the day.  The objective is to find a doable routine that helps your child wind down from her day.

2. Sign off and unplug. Technology is a major culprit in keeping kids awake at night.  Whether it's games on the iPad or texts from their friends, these gadgets find a way to sneak into kids' rooms and keep them up well past bedtime.  Set a strict time for these gadgets to be turned off and unplugged each night.  

3. Skip the Saturday snooze.  It's tempting to let kids "catch up" on their sleep by letting them sleep in on the weekends, but that just sets them for a rough time when the week starts again.  Keep weekend sleep times as close a possible to the weekday routine.

4. Get 'em moving. If your kids have trouble sleeping at night, it could be because they haven't had enough physical exercise during the day.  Kids that come home and sit in front of the TV or computer all afternoon may feel rested, but they brains still desperately need sleep.  Fresh air and exercise in the afternoon may help them catch more zzz's.

5. Be consistent.  If your kids have trouble getting to sleep and waking up in the mornings, try to be consistent with their schedule each day.  Later meal times can really mess up a sleep schedule, as can late night play dates or scary movies.  Try to keep their bedtimes as consistent as possible during the school year 

For more on kids and sleep, check out these posts:

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