The Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care Explain How to Help Your Children Adjust Their Sleep Schedules for School
A child’s transition from the lazy days of summer to a hectic fall school schedule can be challenging. Indeed, many kids enjoy their vacation time by falling into a carefree rhythm of staying up late and sleeping in. Even though it might be tempting to allow your child to sleep as late as possible during those final days of freedom, it’s actually best to begin observing the back-to-school schedule before summer comes to a close. While – as one of our country’s Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, so famously and eloquently said – “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” it is also is vital to your child’s successful academic performance. By slowly easing into an earlier bedtime and wake-up call, he or she should have minimal problems hopping out of bed to greet the morning on the first day of school.
To help your child adjust and get his or her sleep pattern back on track, the doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care recommend the following:
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment that is quiet, dark, well-ventilated, and cool.
- Do not allow your child to read, watch television, or use technology in bed (anytime).
- Begin gradually reinstating earlier bedtimes several weeks before school starts.
- Establish a nighttime ritual that helps your child relax and feel drowsy, such as reading or taking a bath. Turn off the television, video games, and technology about one hour before going to sleep.
- Wind down the summer by enjoying some early morning activities outdoors in the sunlight (just don’t forget the sunscreen).
- Maintain a consistent schedule every day – even on weekends – that allows for plenty of sleep.
- Make sure that your child is getting enough rest. While most school-age children need 10-11 hours, and teens should get about 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep each night, individual requirements can vary significantly. If your child seems grouchy or tired during the day, he or she may need more sleep.
- Be a good role model and go to bed early yourself!
To entice your child out of bed on the first day of school, you might prepare a special breakfast and put together a new outfit to wear. These are great ways to help generate enthusiasm about the new adventure that lies ahead.
For additional family health tips, please take a look at our online series of health articles. If you have questions or would like to see a physician, feel free to contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.