Get your kids' sleep schedule back on track for school

Posted at: 07/29/2014 9:56 AM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4

School is just around the corner and one of the biggest challenges for kids and parents is getting back on track with a healthy sleep schedule.

"They need to wake up, they're going to be tired and it's a fact," Dr. James Bradley from Lovelace said.

Bradley helps families make the transition from the late summer nights, to the school scheduled mornings.

"I think as a parent, talking with your child about going back to school is very difficult, because of their unscheduled sleep and wake time during the summer," Bradley said.

Bradley says people need to start having those conversations now, so they can be ready when the first day arrives.

For some quick tips, he suggests staying away from caffeine and chocolate a few hours before bed, avoiding exercise late in the evening, starting the routine bedtime and wakeup time now and discussing plans to limit technology like TV, computers and cell phones before bed.

"It's like the cell phones and things are there and the parents are not in the bedroom, and so it's really difficult to provide structure for that teenager," Bradley said.

Bradley encourages short, 30 minute naps in the afternoon and says "catching up" by sleeping in, is allowed.

"During the weekends, allow them to get more sleep," he said. "Maybe two hours more sleep than they do during the week, so they get improved sleep and catch up on their sleep."

As a general rule, kids between 12 and 18 should get about nine hours of sleep a night. But it really depends on what works best for the individual person.