Getting Kids Back on a Sleep Schedule

Live Healthy

All summer long, your kids have probably enjoyed staying up later during the nights and sleeping in the following mornings.

Now, as your children prepare to start a new school year, you may have some trouble getting them back on a sound sleeping schedule.

We all know how hard transitioning keiki from a summer routine to a school routine is, but it’s essential that you help your children adjust to earlier bedtimes and wakeup times to ensure productive learning in school.

“Sleep is vital for the mental and physical development of children and teens. A well-rested individual will have enough energy to stay awake in class, listen and participate with focus and attention, and will have enough energy to exercise during recess and PE,” says Dr. Valerie Cacho, medical director of sleep medicine at Straub Medical Center.

Insufficient rest causes irritability, increased stress, forgetfulness, learning difficulties and low motivation.

How much sleep your child should be getting each night depends on his or her age.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following guidelines:

How many hours of sleep does your child need? Check the chart above. 

There are several ways you can get kids back to a regular sleeping schedule for school.

Here are four helpful tips from Cacho:

  1. Set a regular bedtime and wakeup time during the week and even on weekends.

  2. Encourage children to have a bedtime routine that includes avoiding screens from the TV, computers, phones or tablets.

  3. Have age-appropriate wind-down activities such as taking a bath, reading a book (preferably one about sleep), singing lullabies, journaling and breathing exercises to relax the nervous system and promote sleep.

  4. Create a relaxing bedroom environment that is dark, quiet and cool to contribute to a restful night.

“The key is to start early in the process of transitioning your children back into a healthy sleep schedule in order to have an easy and healthy start to the first few weeks of school,” says Cacho. “By being a proactive parent in introducing your kids to a healthy sleep routine, they will adjust faster to the new changes.”

What about letting your kids sleep in on weekends or naps?

“Naps are not necessary after kindergarten, and if a child or teen is needing to nap or sleep in on the weekend, it is likely they are getting an insufficient amount of sleep at night,” says Cacho.

Your child may also have an underlying sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea, which should be discussed with your doctor.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Straub Sleep Medicine Department at 808-522-4448 or click here.



Published on: August 31, 2018