Now that we are in back to school mode, are the kids getting the shut-eye they need to function in school?

This happens every year in our house: the kids are exhausted the first couple of weeks being back in school. I usually chalk it up to the fact that they sleep in so much later during the summer and are up late each night. When school starts, they head to bed earlier during the week but probably aren't falling right to sleep.

When we were kids, there weren't any electronics (except television and radio) to add into the mix of activities the kids of today participate in. If they play sports, you've got that, then of course homework. And if they are big into playing video games and interacting on social media during the school week, that factors in as well. These kids today are pretty busy.

I came across a sleep chart on Facebook that gives us parents a good idea of how much actual sleep our kids should be getting based on how old they are:

public facebook
public facebook
loading... says that, "For about a decade, the pediatric sleep community has recommended that children three to five years old need 11 to 13 hours, children five to 10 years old need 10 to 11 hours, and adolescents 10 to 17 years need eight-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep each night."

And if your child is not getting enough sleep each night, how is that affecting them over time?

In an article on, Dr. Cindy Gellner says that, "Overtired kids work more slowly because it's hard for them to remember what the teacher just told them or what they just read. Their brains have a harder time focusing, even interfering with the formation and recall of long-term memories. When kids are sleep-deprived their brains actually lapse into sleep-like brainwave patterns, which is why tired kids space out during class."

One tip I would give as a parent of two teenaged boys in middle and high school: no video games or phone/iPad at least one hour before they head to bed for the night. A good old-fashioned TV show, book or music of some sort is what we try to stick to with our kids during the school week. It's not easy but my husband and I feel we are only helping them in the long run.

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