The Fidelis Care Blog

How to Set a Bedtime Routine as Kids Head Back to School
9/5/2019 • Posted by Dr. Lisa Moreno, Pediatrician in Children's Health, Health and Wellness

parent reading book with child in bed

Sleep is key for children’s health. Sleeping enough each night leads to improved physical, mental, and emotional health in children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parents can help children get used to waking up earlier during the school year with these bedtime routine tips:

  1. Work up to it: Children may not want a set bedtime at first. Parents can start one part of a bedtime routine one week (brushing), and then add another the following week (reading). This can help children relax before going to sleep.
  2. Move the bedtime routine slowly: Parents can move the bedtime routine 10 minutes earlier each night, working toward the desired bedtime. This could take a few weeks.
  3. Keep the bedtime routine on weekends: Children’s sleep schedules can be impacted when bedtimes are not consistent.
  4. Limit electronic devices: Parents can read with young children or encourage older kids to read before bed. Don’t let children replace books with electronic devices. Children who use electronic devices at night tend to sleep less. For Screen-time Tips for Parents, click here.

What Are the Key Steps of a Bedtime Routine?

The recommended bedtime routine has three simple steps:

  1. Brush: Help children floss and brush their teeth.
    To learn more about children’s dental health, visit our Smiles That Shine page.
  2. Book: Read a book with young children, or encourage older children to read.
  3. Bedtime: Make sure children have the same bedtime each night.

Parents can start a bedtime routine at any age. If your child does not have a bedtime routine yet, it’s not too late to start!

How Long Should Children Sleep?

It depends on their age. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommend:

  • Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours a day (including naps)
  • Ages 6-12 years: 9-12 hours a day
  • Ages 13-18 years: 8-10 hours a day

Getting enough sleep is important for good health. Parents can help their children prepare for the school year by setting bedtime routines. Routines help children wind down each night and fall asleep. Parents can start a bedtime routine at any age. If you haven’t set one, you can start today!

Fidelis Care wants every child to have a healthy school year. To learn more about quality, affordable health insurance coverage for children, visit