Getting kids back into a schooltime sleep schedule is always a challenge at the end of the summer. But this year, a lot of kids have been staying up later and sleeping in for an extra three months due to the pandemic.
Local pediatricians say now is the time to start reinforcing good sleep habits.
“Keep the schedule as consistent as possible, through the weekends…to ensure they’re staying on a good, solid pattern to make it easier to fall asleep at night and to make sure they’re getting adequate sleep,” said Dr. Katherine Shedlock of Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Shelock says two weeks before school beings, start backing up your child’s bedtime by 10 to 15 minutes each night and wake them up consistently in the morning. Plan for a lights-off goal, keep rooms dark and device-free and use a consistent bedtime routine.
“I think it’s also really important for parents to model good sleep habits as well, because children learn a lot from parents and what their habits are as they grow up,” Shedlock said.
Shelock says pre-schoolers should aim for 10 hours of sleep per night. Elementary and middle school aged kids should try to get at least nine hours. High school students should be getting eight hours of sleep each night. Getting an adequate amount of sleep will keep them focused and improve their mood, Shedlock said.