Patch researched the question and here is what we came up with.
- Set a firm bedtime and stick to it. Many parents I know will begin shaving time off the bedtime about a week out. If your kids have had the luxury of staying up past 10 p.m. during the summer and you want them to adjust to an 8:45 p.m. lights out, you can do it in 15 minute increments. But, when they hit 8:45 p.m., don't waiver. This story suggests parents should shift wake up time and bedtime with automatically follow.
- Try to limit the television or electronics before bed and especially limit the watching in their bedroom, where it can interrupt sleep patterns.
- Make sure the room is comfortable. Keep the tempurature comfortable and have extra blankets on hand. The environment surrounding the room should be quiet as well.
- Try exercising after dinner. This is even better if you can do it as a family.
- Use light. Dim the lights in the evening and if you are aiming to wake up earlier, open the shades as soon as you wake to encourage the body to wake up.
More great tips on good bedtime habits can be found here and here.