Six Tips for Implementing a Back-to-School Sleep Schedule

Author

Dr. Jeremy Warhaftig, Pediatrician, South Shore Medical Center

Jeremy Warhaftig, MD, Pediatrician

Back to school is here for most kids across the South Shore. All summer long, your kids have probably been staying up later than usual, and sleeping in later in the morning. If you’re like many families I see around this time of year, you may be feeling overwhelmed with how to get your kids on a more structured sleep schedule for back to school. 


First, it’s important to know how much sleep your child needs every night so you can establish a proper bedtime. The American Society of Pediatrics recommends the following:

  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
     

Below are tips that you can implement to help ease your child into a school-time sleep schedule and to maintain healthy sleep habits all year round:

  1. Set a regular sleep schedule — even on weekends — and be consistent. If your kids need to be up by 6:00 a.m., that means the bedtime for most school-age and teenage kids is 8 p.m to 10 p.m.
     
  2. Turn off all electronics at least one hour before bed time, and remove all electronic devices from your child’s room.
     
  3. Avoid food or drinks with caffeine or added sugar. It’s best to avoid caffeine and sugary drinks all together. If consumed at all, they should not be consumed after lunchtime.
     
  4. Setup a relaxing bed time ritual such as reading a book before bed (watching TV does not count as a relaxing ritual).
     
  5. Create a peaceful bedroom environment. Make sure your child is sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillow and keep the room dark, cool and quiet.
     
  6. Model healthy sleeping habits. The best way to get your kids to stick to a program is to do it yourself. Implement your own regular sleep schedule and create a home that promotes healthy sleep.
     

Back to school is the perfect time to start practicing healthy sleeping habits. One of the best ways you can help your kids reach their full potential this school year is to ensure they get a good night’s sleep.