Tick-Tock: Time to adjust your child’s sleep schedule

Tick-Tock: Time to adjust your child’s sleep schedule

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As your family’s extended break from school comes to an end, one important item that may be missing from your back-to-school checklist – or may be started too late – is transitioning your student’s sleep from a break-time schedule back to a routine school-night schedule.

The Children’s Health℠ Sleep Center recommends beginning to adjust your child’s sleep schedule at least several days prior to the re-start of the school schedule.

As you’re making the transition, keep in mind these tips:

  • Adjust your child’s sleep schedule gradually, about 15 minutes per night.
  • Keep children active during the day before dinner time, and wind down their activities at night.
  • Turn off electronics and decrease light in the hours before bedtime.
  • Begin reinstating the school-night bedtime routines that may have become relaxed over break. Start by scheduling consistent bath and pajama time, story time and other pre-bedtime activities as part of the nighttime adjustment process.
  • Children should not be drinking caffeine at all. For adolescents, if they do drink caffeine, limit it to the morning only. No caffeine should be consumed after noon, or it may interfere with the child’s ability to sleep.

And how much sleep should children get each night?

While every child is different, keep these guidelines in mind when setting your student’s bedtime and wake up time:

  • Newborns: 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12 to 16 hours (including naps) of sleep for any 24-hour period.
  • Toddler (1-2 years): 11 to 13 hours (including naps) for every 24-hour period.
  • Pre-schoolers (3-5 years): 10 to 13 hours (including naps) per 24-hour period.
  • School-aged children (6-12 years): 9 to 12 hours of sleep (not including naps)
  • Teens: 8 to 10 hours per 24-hour period.

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behavior, caffeine, determinants of health, physician advice, psychology, neurology, sleep