HOUSTON — Kids may still be clinging to the waning days of summer vacation, but parents know that school is just around the corner. Many kids use the summer months to stay up late and sleep in, and their bodies adjust to this schedule-free routine.
But sleep experts say if you want kids to start the school year off wide awake you need to start imposing a sleep routine now.
Kids need 10-11 hours sleep
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine children and pre-teens need to get about 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night for the best school performance. Teens need around nine hours.
And the best way to get there is to gradually adjust bedtime, moving it earlier 15 to 30 minutes every other day. The same advice goes for the time they wake up.
This is also a good time to instill what experts call good sleep hygiene habits. That means turning off electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The light from the screen tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Don’t serve soda or caffeinated beverages at dinner, and if needed move dinnertime up.
Find some relaxing activities your child enjoys, like a warm bath, cuddling with a parent, or reading a book and incorporate them into the bedtime routine.
Above all, be patient and allow time to make the transition.