Parent Survival Guide: Getting kids back on a sleep schedule for school

Updated: Sep. 7, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With the new school year upon us it’s time to get back into your school routine. Whether your child is going to school virtually or headed back into an actual classroom a good sleep schedule is important.

Dr. Douglas Holtzman with the Pediatric Emergency Department at Summerville Medical Center says sliding into a back-to-school routine and sleep schedule is crucial for the overall health of your family.

”Start getting them to bed earlier, maybe 15 to 30 minutes each night but also start waking them up if you have been allowing them to stay sleep in the morning. You need to start getting them back to being ready to wake up in the morning,” Holtzman said.

He says different ages have different needs when it comes to sleep. The younger your child is typically the more sleep they need.

”Preschoolers need anywhere from about 10 to 12 hours and teens need about 8 and a half to 9 and a half hours,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman says a good nights sleep goes a long way in helping children be more focused with their school work, and sleep also adds an extra boost to the immune system.

”Deep sleep is where our immune health kicks in and repairs things so it really weakens the immune system to not get enough sleep. Kids need to have that brain development and rest so sleep is vital,” Holtzman said.

He says the best way to get your child into having good sleep habits is to make having a routine a priority.

”If you have been lax and allowing them to sleep in late you have to start winding them back into a normal routine. Children need routine. They need consistency. It gives them a sense of confidence,” Holtzman said.

Some other important things Holtzman suggests to get your kids on a good sleep schedule is to turn off all electronics after dinner or an hour before bed.

Also, nix any caffeine after lunchtime and try to keep kids from taking those afternoon naps so when it’s bedtime they’ll be more than sleepy.

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