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Summer's Almost Over; Here's How To Get Your Kids Back On A Regular Sleep Schedule

"edited005-1" by Michael Bentley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Even if your school days are long behind you, there’s something about this time of year that signals a return to routines. For families, high on the list is getting back to a set bed time.

According to Dr. Maida Chen of the University of Washington School of Medicine, you can get bed time under control by walking your kids through the new schedule.

“I think all families are better served if they’re able to realize just how many hours we should be aiming for, and really subtract back from what time they realistically need to be up in the morning,” she said.


Chen, a professor of pediatrics, and Medical Director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center at Seattle Children's Hospital says children need nine to 12 hours of sleep. She says, almost always, when a child has trouble with sleep, it starts with the adults in the house.

“If the parents are people who have very erratic sleep patterns; who habitually fall asleep with the TV on, with their phone in their hand, who fall asleep on their couch; children learn to normalize that and learn to expect that that’s what they think of as sleep,” she said.

Ideally, screens should be shut off two hours before bed time, but even a half hour makes a difference. And Chen says no binge-sleeping on the weekend.

Her last piece of advice? Kids like to be involved so let them help set the schedule. And here’s hoping you can get them to pack their lunches too.