It's officially back to school time and many parents are trying to get their kids back on a regular sleep schedule.
Tough job for sure, but the good news is that if your child is only off by two or three hours, getting them on an earlier bed time schedule should only take a few weeks -- but it is a slow process.
Dr. Schuen from Helen DeVos Children's Hospital has this advice for parents, "Our body clocks adjust about 15 minutes to a half an hour a night. So, if you try to not only adjust the evening hours, so move if they are used to going to bed at 10:30 p.m., now making 10 p.m. their bedtime, also shift the morning earlier."
Dr. Schuen also says when waking your child up, make the room as bright as possible. Turn on lights and open the shades. This switches the sleep wake cycles by helping your body to suppress melatonin which makes us sleepy.
It’s not too late to start the process if your child is already in school. It's going to take about two weeks to get on schedule. The biggest thing is to avoid allowing your child to take afternoon naps. That will undo everything because they won't be tired for that earlier bed time.
Here's how much sleep our school-aged kids need:
- Preschoolers: 10 to 13 hours
- Kindergarten through 6th grade: 9 to 12 hours
- Middle school and high schoolers: between 8 and 10 hours
Getting enough sleep sets your kids up for optimal school performance.
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