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Get your child back on schedule for the coming school year

SPOKANE, Wash. - The end of summer break is here. For thousands of kids in Spokane, school starts Thursday. That means less time on the playground, more time in the classroom.

It also means getting up and going to bed earlier. Experts say there's things students and parents can do now to make that transition as easy as possible.

Sometimes the start of school can feel like throwing it all out there and hoping for the best.

But when it comes to getting four kids ready to learn mom, Kelly Collins, knows she's gotta have a plan that starts well before the first day.

"Yeah, the first week can be a little crazy," said Collins. "Starting to go to bed a little earlier, just keep up that bedtime routine with shower, read bed, prayers, and bed."

Lynn Gfeller, LMHC with Northwest Neuro Behavioral Institute, agrees. It only takes a bit of change each night.

"One of our therapists said, 'Hey, why don't you just back up the bed time 15 minutes a night for one or two weeks,'" said Gfeller.

Gfeller says, for children six to 12-years-old shoot for nine to 12 hours of sleep. Ages 13 to 18 should only need eight to ten.

"It's a foundation of good mental functioning the next day," said Gfeller.

Of course each child is different. Some may need more or less.

"Just look for their energy, and if they're tired, if they need more sleep or if they need to talk or snuggle or whatever that looks like," said Collins.

Other things to pare down before school starts; caffeine and electronics. No caffeine after 2 P.M. and no electronics two hours before bed.

"It's asking a lot for a child or teen to regulate that. So, structure or support by the parents," said Gfeller.

And parents get ready to change your evening habits.

"A lot of prep. Set out stuff the night before," said Collins.

She says, start putting family time on the calendar, now.

"My husband's busy obviously with his job and his office and four kids and family and friends but you have to find it cause you know, you have to have that balance," said Collins.

The same goes for homework.

"Sometimes when I get home, I just do it," said Camden Collins.

His sister has a similar technique.

"I get home, sometimes I do my homework right away or sometimes I do it in the car," said Kinley Collins.

"I think they're ready, they love summer but structure is good sometimes," said Collins.

It's not too late to start the gradual changes. There's only two days of school this week and many school don't start till next week.


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