Getting Children’s Sleep Schedule Back on Track for School
Intermountain Healthcare clinical psychologist offers tips to help parents for back-to-school bedtime routines
Salt Lake City, UT (PRUnderground) August 25th, 2022
The beginning of the school year is around the corner or may have even started, which means kids going to bed wherever and whenever is coming to an end. Depending on sports schedules and early morning activities parents should start to consider when their kids should begin changing their bedtime.
Thankfully, a bedtime routine can help kids get back into the habit of a good sleep cycle.
Bedtime routines with your child can help everyone sleep better
“A bedtime routine doesn’t have to be difficult or drawn out. A routine is just something done every time someone goes to bed,” said Dr. Lori Neeleman, clinical psychologist at Intermountain Healthcare. “A child’s bedtime routine will help them form positive sleep associations. As you prepare your child for bed it can also be a good time to begin unwinding and making preparations for bed yourself.”
Recommended sleep guidelines for babies and children by age
- 3 to 6 years: Approximately 11-12 hours of sleep. Younger children of this group may still require a short nap during the day, but the need to nap usually diminishes by the time they enter the first grade.
- 7 to 12 years: Children of this age group tend to need about 10-12 hours of sleep, but often only get about 9-10 hours.
- 13 to 18 years: Teens require about 8-10 hours of sleep, but rarely get the full amount. The demands of schoolwork and after-school activities often cut into their sleep. Most teens report getting about 6-8 hours of sleep.
Start the bedtime routine early
Dr. Neeleman said a child’s bedtime routine doesn’t have to happen right before bed. In fact, parents should start children’s bedtime routine at least 30 minutes before it’s time to start getting ready for bed. Start to wind down. Put an end to raucous games. Move slower. Dim the lights. Turn off the TV and electronic devices. Talk softer. Prepare your child’s mind and body for their upcoming bedtime routine and sleep.
Your child’s bedtime routine
No matter what you do, pick an easy and predictable routine that happens every time your child goes to bed. Try not to draw out your child’s bedtime routine. Fifteen minutes or so should be plenty of time for a good bedtime routine. Decide what is going to help your child fall asleep and stick with it. Consistency is much more important than what you actually do during your routine. Dr. Neeleman gives these examples of bedtime routine elements include:
- Reading books
- Telling stories
- Singing a song
- Saying prayers
- Brushing teeth
- Putting on pajamas
- Goodnight kisses and hugs
- Diaper change or going to the bathroom
- Snuggling together or tucking them in
Set the stage for good sleep
“You’ve prepped your child for a good night of sleep. Don’t just leave them in a space that isn’t going to help them sleep. Don’t leave TVs, tablets, computers or phones in their bedroom. Keep the space dark enough for good sleep, while still comfortable for those who are scared of the dark. Night lights can help. Make the bed up comfortably. Check the temperature so it’s cool enough to sleep without leaving your kids cold. Invest in a white noise machine or fan,” said Dr. Neeleman.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Headquartered in Utah with locations in eight states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information and updates, click here