Start school year sleep routine now

SHARE Start school year sleep routine now
SHARE Start school year sleep routine now

Every evening I notice it’s getting darker earlier and earlier. That can only mean one thing: the start of school is right around the corner.

And if your kids are going to be back in the classroom soon, you better start getting them sleep-ready for the schoolwork ahead. Those nights of playing video games til all hours? They’ve gotta end.

Your kids aren’t necessarily going to want to do this, but, oh well! It’s for their own good, even if they don’t realize it. Study after study has shown that kids who get a good night’s sleep are more attentive and do better in school. That’s what we want, right?

It doesn’t have to be a dramatic shift. Experts suggest getting kids in bed 15 minutes earlier AND — this is important — making them get up and out of bed 15 minutes earlier as well. (You don’t want to have to start the day yelling while you scrap them outta bed, do you?) Do this and add 15 minutes at a time until you get them to the time you want them in bed and then out of bed in the morning once school starts.

Start — or resume — a regular nighttime routine and stick with it throughout the school year. Have them do a little reading — better yet, read together — and just unwind. No TV; none of us want to believe this, but the light from a television messes with our deepest sleep. Make sure the room is cool (people sleep better when it isn’t too hot) and dark. Store their electronic devices — cell phones, tablets, laptops — in another room; the light from these items messes with one’s sleep, too. Not a bad idea for mom and dad to set a good example and do the same. That way everyone’s getting a good night’s sleep.

School-age children need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. Teens need at least nine. Don’t let them talk you out of that.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Henry for AP

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