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How to Help Your Kids Achieve Better Sleep as School Year Begins

Recommended sleep for school children can range from eight to 13 hours a night

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Whether your kids are back in school or about to start, it's not too late to make a basic change to help them achieve their best this year.

Setting your student up for scholastic success starts with a good night's sleep. But, that can be tricky if your summer sleep patterns were all over the map.

"There’s lots of evidence and growing evidence that not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep or irregular sleep can impact attention can impact mood," said. Dr. Dana McMakin, a clinical psychologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

McMakin said if you want your kids to get good quality sleep, mom and dad need to set the example.

“The more that a family commits to prioritizing sleep and keeping it regular and getting enough sleep, the better things are likely to go," she added.

That's where routines are a key.

“When we don’t follow the routine, everything crashes…everyone is in a bad mood,” said Guadalupe Carral, a mother of five children with one about to start kindergarten.

“We’re trying to go to bed early before school starts," Carral said. "So I basically just try to feed them early and just slow down early in the afternoon so we can go to bed on time.”

For older kids like high school junior Selena Bracamontes, she tries to put down her electronic devices an hour before bedtime. She knows lack of sleep can take its toll.

“I tend to be very tired like in lunch and during my afternoon classes. It's very hard to sometimes pay attention," she said.

McMakin said there is a reason for that and better sleep can mean better relationships in school

“Getting along with peers, managing your emotions is all easier when you’ve slept well," she added.

Recommended sleep for school children can range from eight to 13 hours a night. It helps to be as consistent as possible, even on weekends.

It also helps to go to sleep with a smile.

“Going to sleep relatively happy and feeling comfortable and content and good will help you get deeper sleep," McMakin said.

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