Pediatrician explains how to make transition between summer, school sleep schedule easier on kids

Pediatrician explains how to make transition between summer, school sleep schedule easier on kids
Back to school means getting your kids back on a regular sleep schedule, but that’s not always easy. In the next few days, setting an early alarm will be the new norm for families with children heading back to school. For each kid’s age, there’s a recommended amount of sleep they should get every night. (Source: KPLC)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - There are four words that come with some push back from children getting ready for a school year: ‘It’s time for bed.' However, there are a few simple steps parents can follow to make an easy transition from a summer sleep schedule to a school one.

River Breedlove can relate; he starts 4th grade soon. When asked what he’s going to miss most about summer, he gave the answer typical of his age: “Video games!”

And he’s not alone: Bedtime can be a battle for every parent.

“It takes a lot of discipline for the parent... as well as the children,” River’s mom, Paula, added.

Doctor Melanie Wick, a pediatrician in Tyler, knows what it’s like fighting those late nights to make for a rested morning.

“I have kids, both are 19 and they finished their first year of college, but we have been through it all," said Wick. "Preschool, elementary and middle school, and there are challenges at every age.”

But a few simple steps can make that sleep transition as easy as counting sheep.

“Starting to get kids back in that pattern of storytime, bath time, teeth brushing, and getting to bed at a time that’s going to let them get those 10 to 12 hours of sleep," Wick explained.

The hours that can make a big difference come in the morning.

“It’s easier for us to see the payoff when you wake up in the morning and you’re not tired and grouchy," Paula Breedlove laughed.

In addition to a routine, parents should also start cutting down screen time one to two hours before bed.

“Part of that routine helps train your kids that it’s time for bed when we read a story or brush our teeth," said Wick. "And it is a wonderful time to kind of turn things off wind down, and have an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with your child before you go to sleep.”

A busy and changing schedule can also make for a difficult sleep transition. Experts said consistency is key for children to start building healthy sleep patterns.

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