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Getting Your Kids Back-to-School and Back to Sleep

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Getting Your Kids Back-to-School and Back to Sleep

Stony Brook Children’s expert shares tips on healthy sleep hygiene

 Sticking to a sleep schedule helps children adjust back into school after summer vacation. 

 – Between the long summer days and fluctuating summer schedules, many families may find it challenging to help their children get the sleep they need without the protest — the 10 to 13 hours for recommended for toddlers, 9 to 12 hours for school-aged children, and teenagers needing 8 to 10 hours.

With just a few weeks left before the new school year starts, Dr. Susan Manganaro of Stony Brook Medicine shares some quick tips on how to still enjoy the rest of summer while getting the kids ready for back-to-school.

“It’s important to remember that good sleep hygiene is key year-round, and for everyone in the family, not just the kids,” says Susan Manganaro, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatric Neurology, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and Sleep Specialist, Stony Brook Medicine, “Summer is a time for fun and travel, and schedules can be tricky, but hopefully most parents were able to stick to some sort of routine or bedtime schedule.”

Back-to-school, Back-on-Track

If your children have been off their regular nighttime routine and up later than usual, Dr. Manganaro says, there is hope but you have to start slowly. “It may take a few weeks for your child to get adjusted to an earlier bedtime, so starting 2 to 3 weeks before school starts and moving bedtime back by 15 minutes each night, and each morning, wake your children up 15 minutes earlier until desired school waking time is achieved to ensure children are receiving the proper amount of rest.”

“By the time school starts, they should be used to their new schedule and getting the amount of sleep they need for their age-group,” says Dr. Manganaro. “It is important to remember that sleep promotes well-being and counteracts childhood obesity. Sleep essential during these school-aged years to ensure attentiveness and concentration during learning.”

Stick with the Schedule

“Maintaining that sleep schedule is important,” says Dr. Manganaro. “Once your child’s sleep schedule is established, stick with it. Do not use the weekends to catch up on sleep, or allow your kids to unreasonably stay up late because it there is no school the next day.”

Create a Routine

Building a routine, even for older children, can be helpful. “Before bedtime, allow your kids some “quiet time” so they can unwind,” says Dr. Manganaro. “That can include relaxing activities, such as a bath and a bed-time story (for young children) or a reading time (for older children). And although it may be a challenge with older children, television, video games, and other electronic distractions should be limited two hours before bedtime.”


About Stony Brook Children’s Hospital 
With 106 beds, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital is Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital. More than 8,000 children and young adults are discharged each year. Stony Brook Children’s has more than 160 pediatric specialists in over 30 specialties. The hospital is Suffolk County’s only Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, and Cystic Fibrosis Center. To learn more, visit


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