Getting your kids back to sleep for the new school year

By Carolina Boyd

As the summer break winds down and kids are returning back to school, it is essential to make sure they are getting enough sleep. A good night’s sleep is crucial for the learning process. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children between the ages of 6 to 12 need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep every night. Older kids, need a little less at 8 to 10 hours.

A loss of just 30 minutes of sleep a night can lead to lower grades and concentration problems for both children and teens. Fortunately, there are ways to make back to school sleep schedules easier for kids and parents.

Adjust Those Bedtimes

Ideally parents should begin adjusting bedtimes two weeks before the first day of school. Try moving bedtime up five to 15 minutes each day. A slow and gradual change will help your child’s daily activity cycle, or circadian rhythm, adjust to the new schedule.

Develop a Nighttime Routine that Works

Add calming activities like reading a book or taking a bath to help your kids wind down for bed. If you repeat the process every night, the routine will eventually cue their brains and bodies that it’s time to go to sleep.

Turn Off at Nighttime

A good night’s sleep requires making your child’s bedroom an “electronics free zone.” Things like laptops, cell phones, even the television set, can lead to poor sleep. Not only can notifications of text messages wake your child up, the blue light that many devices give off can promote wakefulness. Make a rule that all devices need to be turned off at least an hour before bedtime.

Don’t Forget Food and Drink

Make sure your kids eat a well-balanced diet and limit caffeine, especially after lunch. Sodas, energy drinks, coffee drinks and even chocolate can keep children from falling or staying asleep.

Going back to school is easier with a well-rested child. If you are having a tough time getting your child to sleep, talk to your Legacy pediatrician. Schedule an appointment today.