Kids Need Some Z’s Before Learning the ABCs

back to school sleep, sleeping child

Backpack, notebook, pencils, a good night’s sleep — when getting your kids ready to go back to school, don’t forget to re-establish a good sleep routine.

Sleep is important. In fact, it’s one of the three pillars of health! The others being nutrition and exercise.

3 Tips to Get Kids’ Sleep Back on Track

calendar1. Anchor a bedtime — 2-3 weeks before school starts, wake up your kids about 15 minutes earlier every couple of days until you reach the desired time. Anchor the wake-up time this way and earlier bedtimes will follow.

phone2. Limit screen time before bed — Blue light exposure from electronics can interfere with natural sleep rhythms

Z's3. Cut back on daytime naps

Why do all this? Because a good night’s sleep helps children do better in school. It gives them:

  • Energy and focus
  • A positive attitude
  • Better memory of what they learned the day before

Many parents have experienced a child’s meltdown when overtired. Children who don’t get enough sleep may be:

  • Irritable
  • Hyperactive (which can be confused with attention deficit disorders)
  • Impulsive
  • Unable to follow instructions 
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Datasource: Set Video Source here 

How Much Sleep Does a Child Need?

Different ages need different amounts of sleep. For school-age children:

  • Ages 3-5: 10-13 hours of sleep, including naps
  • Ages 6-12: 9-12 hours of sleep
  • Ages 13-18: 8-10 hours of sleep

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has a handy calculator for this. Enter age and wake time, and the calculator will show you where bedtime should be.

Sleep aids, like over-the-counter melatonin, are discouraged for most children. A good bedtime routine will help most kids sleep without them. However, if your child is having sleep issues, the Sleep Lab at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital can help!

And for more tips on good sleep health, see the parent resources at:

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions presented in this blog post do not reflect the ideas and opinions of Memorial Healthcare System.