Establishing a Back-to-School Schedule for Kids

It’s that time of year again. Parents everywhere are undergoing the painful battle of getting kids into a back-to-school bedtime. Establishing a back-to-school schedule for kids and earlier bedtimes is easier with a consistent night before school routine. While healthy adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, it’s no surprise that kids and teens need more sleep for optimal growth and cognitive development. But how much sleep do kids really need?

  • Kids aged 6-12 years old need at least 9-12 hours of sleep per night 
  • Teens aged 13-18 need 8-10 hours of sleep per night
  • 52 percent of American children ages 6 to 17 get less than 9 hours per night

The 48 percent of kids who get enough sleep have a 44 percent higher likelihood of demonstrating curiosity in learning new information and skills. They were also 33 percent more likely to complete all their homework and 28 percent more likely to care about doing well in school.”  Healthline

Create a Back-to-School Bedtime

Getting kids back into a school night routine for the new school year is essential, especially in light of the disruptions they’ve experienced during the last year of the pandemic. Whether kids are attending school in person, via remote learning, or are homeschooled, getting a sufficient amount of good quality sleep is essential to learning. Parents can lessen the back-to-school bedtime battle, reset the cycle, and BACK UP THE BEDTIME with these helpful back-to-school bedtime tips and tricks:

  • Have a family discussion on why sleep is important
  • Ideally, start the transition 2-3 weeks before school starts
  • Set bedtime 15-20 minutes earlier each day
  • Ease up the screen time, especially in the evening
  • Have a power-down hour where everyone turns off electronics
  • Create a worry journal, talk together about their anxieties of starting school, write it down
  • End the day with gratitude, have them journal what they’re grateful for
  • Avoid afternoon napping which can disrupt nightly sleep
  • Avoid caffeine (read labels on root beer, orange soda) and chocolate (contains caffeine)
  • Create a sleep conducive environment that’s cool and dark
  • Consider changing bedding—think new sheets, a new pillow, or a stuffed animal so they look forward to their bedtime routine
  • Reward kids for sleep time

One not-so-surprising final tip for families with pets: according to a recent article published by Sleep Foundation, studies also show that many kids do better at bedtime when sleeping with a pet. But at the end of the day, it’s important for parents to lead by example, so practice what you preach. After all, you need sleep to stay healthy and keep up with your busy lifestyle, too!

Struggling with a back-to-school bedtime routine? Experiencing nightly battles with bad dreams, monsters, or other sleep issues? Consider a pediatric sleep study. Schedule a consultation with a sleep specialist.