Back to School Sleep Recommendations for Children
August 22, 2017
Now, just a couple of weeks before school starts, is the perfect time to get kids back into a bedtime routine to adjust those sleep and wake time schedules. Getting started early and adjusting slowly over time, has shown to be the most effective way to transition children into a new routine effectively.
If kids have a little bit of a regimented routine it helps prepare their bodies for going to sleep. For example, maybe a half hour before bed, they are going to wash their face, brush their teeth and read a story. A routine helps their body associate their steps with sleep and reduce anxiety at bedtime.
Remember to keep the sleep environment cool, quiet, dimly lit and comfortable. Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Those bright lights can lead to poor sleep!
Sleep recommendations for children vary by age. Younger kids, ages 6 to 13, should get somewhere between 9 and 11 hours. Kids ages 14 to 17 need between 8 and 10 hours. Remember these are only recommendations, every kid is different. Some need more sleep, some less.
Sleep may be lost due to anxiety over school. The best recommendation is to again, prepare early. Most schools have open houses to help familiarize kids on where they’re going, meet teachers and build an overall familiarity with their new surroundings. Although it is important to make sure they feel comfortable at school, don’t forget to go over safety plans with them in case you get home late from work so they know what to expect. Having a plan that you both agree to will help reduce anxiety over school for kids and parents.
Other bedtime de-railers can be what kids eat and drink. It is best to limit caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon. Having healthy snacks prepped and easily accessible for kids to grab and eat when they get home will help increase the likelihood they will choose healthier options. Healthy snack ideas include cutting some up celery with peanut butter or having grapes washed up ahead of time.