School-Aged Kids & Sleep

Parent Q&A

  • We work full-time 9-5 office jobs and our child is headed to Kindergarten next year. I'm concerned about how I'm going to get her to school on time while ensuring that she gets 10-12 hours of sleep each night. I feel like she's not getting enough sleep as she doesn't wake up on her own in the morning and I worry about her having a sleep deficit at such a young age. Any ideas on how to better manage time and streamline the daily schedule would be appreciated! 

    My daughter attended kindergarten from 8:30-noon, and then on-site day care until 5:30pm. She would regularly just fall asleep on the floor at the day care, I told the staff to just let her sleep. Eventually she adjusted and started going to bed earlier. I got good at prepping dinner in the morning so I could get it on the table fast when we got home and she could be in bed by 8.

    Do either of you have any flexibility in your work schedules?  My partner shifted her hours so that she goes to work earlier than I do and comes home earlier than I do.  This means she is able to pick the kids up at 5pm rather than 6pm, which makes it possible for us to get the kids to bed at a reasonable time.

    We have a similar situation with 2 jobs and 2 kids, both in school/afterschool or preschool until 5:30 or 6. We found that our daughter was happy but exhausted by the transition to K and needed more sleep for the first 4-6 months. We streamlined the morning aggressively so she could sleep until 6:45 and rushed the evening for a while so she was in bed closer to 7:30 rather than 8:00. That's the most we could manage with jobs/aftercare/cooking, and has been fine (she now goes to sleep at 8 and often wakes up on her own around 6:30 although not always). For the mornings, we eliminated all choice. She chooses and lays out clothes the night before and places her order for breakfast and we don't renegotiate. We pack lunches for the entire family the night before. For evenings, our cooking is simpler than it used to be so that it's truly 30-35 minutes from walking in the door to sitting at the table so that we can be done eating around 7. Then it's teeth and books, with kids in bed for the last book (falling asleep if it's been that kind of day, which is fine). No more nightly baths, but she also doesn't get nearly as dirty as she did in preschool. It isn't perfect, but we're getting it done without tons of friction, which is a decent indication that she's getting enough sleep. Your daughter will probably be tired at first no matter what, and so give yourself several months to figure out what works. Good luck!