MAYWOOD, IL – With children heading back to school, now is the time to create healthy sleeping habits, according to Hannah Chow, MD, a pediatrician and medical director of the Loyola Center for Health at North Riverside.
“Getting proper amounts of sleep is important for children to get the school year off to a good start," said Dr. Chow. "Now is the time to create a healthy foundation for the rest of the year."
Dr. Chow said the following guidelines should help get children on the right track for school:
- Start shifting your child’s bedtime 10-15 minutes earlier for a few nights. Then shift another 10-15 minutes, repeating until the right bed time is achieved. Also, be sure the wake up time is gradually getting earlier.
- Earlier bed times are not just for the little ones. Now is also the time to be firm with teenagers who want to go to bed later. Make sure they are getting back into an earlier bedtime/earlier wakeup routine, as well.
- For children starting full-day school and missing naps for the first time, they will need to go to bed even earlier to make up for the missed extra sleep. It takes about a month or so to get adjusted to the longer day.
- Turn off the television and put away the iPads. Screen time should end at least 15-30 minutes before bedtime.
As a reminder, the recommended number of hours of sleep for children ages 4-6 is 11-12 hours; ages 7-12 is 10-11 hours; and ages 13-plus is 9 hours.