It's a question that resurfaces every year for parents of school-age children: At the end of summer, should we let them sleep in and squeeze every ounce out of their fleeting freedom? Or should we guide them toward earlier and earlier bedtimes and wake-ups so they will be better adjusted for that first day of school alarm?
Does it even make a difference? Some parents have strong opinions on the matter.
Julie Biggs, a teacher and a mother to two children, 9 and 6, said she firmly believed in the gradual transition.
"I want the first day of school to be less chaotic. As a teacher, well-rested children are better received," she told TODAY Parents. "We started last week putting them to bed 30 minutes earlier each night until we reached the desired bedtime of 7:30 or 8."
"We started transitioning them last week," said mom of four Sarah Sharpe of Lake Mary, Florida. "And we are back to our 'no electronics during the school week' rule too."
Sharpe posted a picture of her son Lincoln on Facebook after she woke him up early in preparation for his first day of school later this week. It included a quote from him: "Waking people up for 'practice' is rude," he said. "Really rude."
Other parents said that while they aim for a gradual, incremental transition ahead of the new school year, they mostly end up practicing the "rip off the Band-Aid" method by default.
"We used to gradually go back to a normal bedtime schedule, but then we went on vacation one year that had us returning home the day before school started, so we weren't able to use that approach," said Shell Roush of Jacksonville, North Carolina. "We found the 'rip the Band-Aid off' approach worked just fine, so we kept doing it for subsequent years.
"None of us enjoy the school year early bedtime/early wake up routine, so we might as well get the most out of our lazy summer days as we can," she said.