What parents should know about getting their kids to sleep

VIDEO: What parents should know about getting their kids to sleep

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Parents may be struggling to get their kids to bed early now that the school year is here. Back to school probably means an earlier bed time for some.

Jennifer Phelps is the mom of a 2nd grader, Grant. He started school on Monday.

"Getting in the bed is a little bit of an adjustment, different schedule and off the summer schedule," Phelps said.

She said it takes time to get back on the school schedule.

"Once we're back on track that can be anywhere from half an hour or so," she said.  "Yeah last night was more like an hour and a half to get everything accomplished."

Karen Rollins is the coordinator of the Sleep Disorders Center at Roper St. Francis Hospital.

"Kids of course love routine and that's no different than the night time too," Rollins said.

She says adequate sleep is especially important for children because it's a time where they grow. It's also a "time for the body to recover and repair itself for the day....a time for the immune system  to boost itself  but also we believe it's a time when there's memory consolidation."

That means sleep helps kids remember the things they learn.

"I think sometimes we hear about students who want to cram right before and cut into their sleep and actually the best thing they can do is of course study what they can ahead of time and also allow a good restorative sleep the night before their exam," Rollins said.

She recommends eight to ten hours of sleep for children and there are things you can do to prepare them for bed. Parents should allow transition time for a smoother process.

"Reading together before bedtime, playing a game before bedtime, listening to music," Rollins said.

In contrast, there are some things that go against sleep like having the TV on, playing video games and having a cell phone in your room when it's time to go to sleep. The light and sounds are stimulants and dark or dim lighting is best.

"A lot of kids want to keep them in their rooms and the beeps and the text messages are coming through," Rollins said.

Grant has a set routine and it includes breathing exercises.

"You take a deep breath in and then you breath it out through your mouth," Grant said.

Many parents agree that after the excitement of the first few days of schools wears off it's more difficult to wake up their kids early in the morning. Creating a set routine is important, it might take some time for children to adjust but experts say stick to it.

"I think a lot of us have that similar schedule of just going through the pajamas and reading and quiet time of some sort of just kind of getting him settled so that his body calms down from the day," Phelps said.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.