It’s back to school time – but many kids aren’t ready for that pre-dawn wake up call. Sleep specialists said the transition to an early bed and wake up time needs to happen gradually.

“All of their biologic rhythms in their brain and body are getting accustomed to that late sleeping and getting up time, and we need to shift them to the school schedule,” said Dr. Gary Montgomery of the Atlanta Sleep Center.

Many doctors say teenagers in particular need about two weeks to prepare for that early wakeup call.

Parents can help by getting their kids up an hour earlier every other day until they meet the desired time for school.

“Parents will notice that their child is naturally sleepy earlier at night, as we march that wake up time,” said Dr. Montgomery.

Establishing a predictable night time routine can help with the transition.

Quiet activities, like reading a book, are recommended.

Young children may need one-on-one time with mom or dad to calm down and prepare for sleep.

When it’s time for lights out that should include all electronic devices so that when their alarm goes off, they’ll be ready for that first school bell.

Elementary school age children need about ten to twelve hours of sleep each night, teenagers need nine.

However, each kid is different. You’ll know your child is getting enough sleep when it is easy for them to go to bed and to wake up in the morning.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox