Fort Worth, Texas,
14:37 PM

Whether Returning to the Classroom or Online Learning, It's Time To Get Your Kids Back to a Normal Sleep Schedule

By Michelle Bailey, M.D.

Sleep, it’s important, right?!

Has your kid's new COVID-19 schedule got them going to bed after midnight and sleeping until noon?

Well it’s time NOW to start getting back into a normal sleep schedule for school, even if they are learning online.

So how much sleep does your child need? This is a good estimate, but teenagers can require up to 12 hours of sleep while they’re going through a growth spurt.

How much sleep does my child need?

  • 3-6 year olds need 10-12 hours of sleep
  • 7-12 year olds need 10-11 hours of sleep
  • 13-18 year olds need 8-9 hours of sleep

If your child has a midnight or (gasp!) even later bedtime right now, start working on adjusting their bedtime slowly over the next few weeks. I propose the following schedule:

  • Aug 1: 11:30 p.m.
  • Aug 2: 11:15 p.m.
  • Aug 3: 11 p.m.
  • Aug 4: 10:45 p.m.
  • Aug 5: 10:30 p.m.
  • Aug 6: 10:15 p.m.
  • Aug 7: 10 p.m.
  • Aug 8: 9:45 p.m.
  • Aug 9: 9:30 p.m.
  • Aug 10: 9:15 p.m.
  • Aug 11: 9:15 p.m.
  • Aug 12: 9 p.m.*

*Early elementary children will likely need a 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. bedtime, adjust the 15-minute pattern above as needed.

Keep in mind that bedtime means lights out, no screen time. Charge your child’s phone in your room, you’d be shocked to find out the long text message conversations happening at 2 a.m.! No TV in the bedroom either. If your child is having trouble with the adjustment in bedtime, it is perfectly fine to give melatonin about 20-30 minutes before bedtime. One or 3 milligrams is appropriate for elementary age, up to 5 milligrams for teenagers. Don’t allow caffeine after noon either.

Best of luck transitioning to school this year! We’re all going to have to work nicely together to get through this, but we can and we will!

Get to know Michelle Bailey, M.D.

I’m a board-certified pediatrician, passionate about ensuring the well-being of patients ranging from newborn through late teens.

I attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!), and completed my pediatric residency in Houston.

Since the completion of residency I’ve worked in outpatient clinics and enjoy not only caring for my young patients, but becoming a part of every family by building long-lasting, trusting relationships. While I treat common and not-so-common childhood infections and diseases, I especially have a passion for asthma and allergies, nutrition, and ADHD along with other learning disorders.

I’m married and we have a rescue dog named Jack. When not at work, I enjoy attending cultural events and traveling. To make an appointment with Dr. Bailey, click here or call 682-303-1000.

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