Boys Town Tips for Back-to-School Sleep Help

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The lazy, hazy crazy days of summer are ending and children are returning to school. Boys Town experts have several ideas for helping parents ease back into a healthy routine including good sleep habits.

Sleep gives the body a chance to rest...as well as a time for our bodies to make repairs from daily wear and tear.

As kids return to school it’s important to remember the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is as necessary to a child’s overall health as getting proper nutrition and plenty of exercise. Children who do not get enough sleep do not learn as well and have a higher rate of behavior problems. Additionally, they may experience more illness as their immune system is not as effective. Boys Town helps parents with these strategies:

  •     Develop a consistent bedtime and wake up routine and stick to the schedule on weekends.
  •     Allow 20-30 minutes before bedtime to unwind. Have your child take a warm bath or read during this time.
  •     Remove the television from your child’s bedroom. Watching television before going to bed can make it harder to fall asleep.
  •     Keep caffeine to a minimum (i.e., soda, chocolate and coffee).
  •     Designating your child’s bed a “sleep only” area. Reading, doing homework, playing games and talking on the phone should be done in a separate location.

“Sleep gives the body a chance to rest,” said Mara Paradis, M.D., Boys Town Pediatrician. “It is a time in which the events we experience during waking hours are integrated into our memories, as well as a time for our bodies to make repairs from daily wear and tear.”

How Much Sleep is enough?
Kids 5-12 years of age need 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night.
Teens 13-14 years of age need 8 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
Teens 15 and older need around 8 hours of sleep each night.

You will know when your child is not getting enough sleep if he or she is tired or cranky, has difficulty following directions, is unable to concentrate on school work, or is abnormally clumsy when participating in activities in which he or she normally excels.

For information and parenting advice go to Parenting.org. The Boys Town National Hotline also offers free advice to parents 24/7. Call 1-800-448-3000.

About Boys Town
Nationally, Boys Town has been a beacon of hope for America’s children and families through its life-changing youth care and health care programs for more than 90 years. In 2012, Boys Town’s Integrated Continuum of youth care and health care programs impacted more than 500,000 children and families across America. This includes those who received services from Boys Town’s residential programs as well as those served by the many varied programs that comprise the Boys Town Integrated Continuum of Child and Family Services, including In-Home Family Services, health care services provided by Boys Town National Research Hospital and the Boys Town National Hotline.
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Kara Neuverth
Boys Town
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