Getting kids on a good sleep routine before school starts again

Aug 2, 2023, 5:53 PM | Updated: 6:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As you’re getting ready to send your kids back to school, there’s a lot to prepare for and one social worker hopes you won’t forget one of the most important things: your kid’s sleep routine.

Emily Bailey, a licensed clinical social worker with Primary Children’s Wasatch Canyons, works daily with kids who are challenged with mental health and behavioral patterns.

For the past five years, Bailey has noticed contributing factors to depression or other mental health symptoms.

“Stability is very important, and sleep is one of those basic needs,” Bailey said. “It’s just as important as having a place to live and meals that are consistent.”

Experts recommended school-aged kids get at least nine hours of sleep a night and at least eight hours for teenagers.

In the summer, your kid’s schedule might not be as structured, so Bailey suggested parents start bringing bedtime back to their school routine in 15-minute increments, every few days.

“So much easier to implement than it is to do one big swoop going back to school,” Bailey said.

How to get better sleep

There are things you can do to help your kids get to sleep faster and have better sleep hygiene.

“We recommend that phones or all of that are outside of the bedroom and that the bedroom is used for sleep,” Bailey said.

Anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime, Bailey said screens should be shut off to help kids sleep.

“If we can promote good sleeping habits, I think that we will have better outcomes as far as mental health is concerned as well,” Bailey added.

If your child has increased irritability, inability to concentrate, or even anxiety about falling asleep, Bailey said that could be an indicator their sleeping pattern could be off.

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Getting kids on a good sleep routine before school starts again