Back to School Essentials: The most important things you can do for your child before school starts

At this time of year, most parents are busy making sure their kids have all the pencils, glue sticks, backpacks, gym shoes, notebooks, and lunch treats they’ll need for a successful school year, but be sure to make time for the most important back-to-school essentials:

  • Check to see if your child is up to date on his/her immunizations
  • Make sure your child has had their annual vision check at our office or at the optometrist, and
  • Get your child’s sleep time back on schedule before school starts!

School-aged children need at least 9 to 12 hours, and teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. 

Good sleep is essential! People who get enough sleep have:

  • Better school performance
  • Better behavior
  • Better memory
  • Better athletic performance and decreased likelihood of getting injured playing sports
  • Better mental health
  • A healthier immune system

We often operate on a different schedule during summer vacation: sleeping in, later bedtimes, late dinners, and relaxed screen time rules. Bedtimes and wake times are often 2 or more hours later in the summer than during the school year. Expecting your child to adjust to a different sleep schedule the day before school starts is a recipe for disaster. Adjust your child’s sleep schedule starting at least 2 weeks before the first day of school. Start helping your child adjust to school by waking him/her 15 minutes earlier in the morning and setting a bedtime 15 minutes earlier. Adjust the bedtime and wake times by 15 minutes every 2 days until the desired bedtime is reached. 

Tips to help your child adjust to a healthy bedtime:

  •  Start a bedtime routine an hour before you want your child to fall asleep: dim the lights, take a shower or bath, brush teeth and put on pajamas early, then read books or do soothing quiet activities until bedtime.
  • Avoid TV, computers, cell phones, and bright lights for 2 hours before bedtime. Keep TVs, computers, and cell phones out of the bedroom!
  • Go to bed at about the same time every night including weekends.
  • Keep the bedroom cool and dark. For most people, comfortable sleep temperatures are between 65 and 72 degrees.
  • Avoid eating within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid drinking more than a few sips of water within an hour of bedtime so your child won’t need to get up to pee.
  • Avoid exercise before bedtime, but be sure to get exercise and exposure to sunlight earlier in the day.
  • Avoid naps if your child is in first grade or older. If your child needs to nap, make sure the nap starts before 2 pm.
  • Avoid caffeine.

Click here for more tips on healthy sleep habits for kids.

If you have a teenager or young adult having difficulty with his/her sleep schedule or just not wanting to get to bed earlier click here for information on helping teens sleep better.

If your child is having trouble with sleep, needs a physical or vision screening, or needs back-to-school immunizations, call to schedule an appointment today. 919-460-0993