Local pediatrician offers sleep suggestions for school-aged kids

House Calls
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In today’s House Calls, Dr. April Gay with Eagle Pediatrics shares sleep suggestions for school-aged kids:

How much sleep do kids need at night?
— Young kids need at least 9 to 12 hours of sleep.
— Even teens need at least 8 to 10 hours each night.

Techniques to gradually move bedtime earlier
— If you start early, then you can move up the bedtime by 15 minutes each night to help improve their bedtime.
— Some parents will start to establish a specific bedtime and bedtime routine about 1 to 2 weeks prior to school starting to help the child to prepare for school. So for instance, if bedtime over the summer is set for 9:30 p.m. and the bedtime is usually 8:30 p.m. during the school year, then you can at least reset bedtime to 9 p.m. the week before school starts so it is not such a drastic change.

Of course, it is important to make sure that the child wakes up earlier in the morning and remain active throughout the day to help encourage sleep at night. It will difficult to go to bed at 9 p.m. if you didn’t wake up until noon that day.

Strategies to get them in bed/ fall asleep
–Again establishing a routine helps such as reading a book prior to bedtime. Asking them to prepare for bed such as shower/bath, brush teeth, turning on night light or lamp in room to minimize the brightness of the room, putting up electronics (phones and tablets) about 30 to 60 minutes prior to bedtime should help to establish their bedtime routine and help to initiate sleep at night.

What do you do on weekends to make it easier during the week?
–Ideally waking up close to the same time on the weekend as during the week and again going to bed similarly to when the child goes to bed during the week, then they should be able to wake up easily at the beginning of the week.

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