Tips for Getting Kids’ Sleep Schedules Back on Track for the School Year
Many parents say they start the routine about a week before school starts
Since the school year is starting back up again, there are some tips for getting kids’ sleep schedules back on track.
Parents say the first few days of getting kids back into the school routine is always the hardest.
“There’s a lot of complaining,” Lisa Gedrose of Fargo said.
“They always want to stay up later because it’s sunny out still, that’s the rough part,” Anne Sinclair of Moorhead said.
It’s not only falling asleep that’s important, but also the quality of a good night’s rest.
“If [a child] wakes up multiple times, he may be falling asleep sooner, but still waking up multiple times is not good, or waking up multiple times and having a hard time falling back asleep,” Dr. Arveity Setty, a pediatric sleep specialist at Sanford, said.
Experts say to get back in the school routine, it’s a good idea for kids to wake up when they’re supposed to be up, and for parents to make the bed time earlier each night until kids are getting the right amount of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 9–11 hours for school-aged children.
And if kids don’t get a good night’s sleep?
“The good way to know if a child did not get a good duration of sleep is on awakening how is their mood? Do they wake up with a headache? That will tell you know what, either the duration is not good or the quality is not good. If they are performing very poorly, how does sleep affect their performance in school? Abstract thinking is affected. They cannot really think. The memory is affected. They cannot really be focused on one particular aspect,” Setty said.
Sleeping well is also about the right environment. That means putting away the electronics and doing something calming before bed. Getting the right amount of physical activity during the day, but not too close to bedtime, is also good for the little ones.
“I have seen many kids, when they wake up in the middle of the night, which can be absolutely normal, but they try to get out of the bed and do something else, we want to make sure the child stays in the bed and tries to fall asleep and just get up only in the morning at whatever time they’re supposed to get up and go to school,” Setty said.
Gedrose says once school gets started though, they have the routine down.
“They know the drill by then. And they get up early, start setting that alarm, and no more sleeping in,” she said.
Doctors say if a child is consistently having problems falling and staying asleep, then it may be time to see a specialist.