It's back-to-school season!

Households around Northeast Ohio are making the transition to a school schedule.

Candace Veney of University Heights has two small children starting kindergarten and preschool at the end of the month. Like many parents, she’s looking for tips to conquer back-to-school bedtimes.

“Some nights are great. They just crash. They’re done,” says Veney. "Other nights they want to talk to each other, they want to play so we will see.”

Veney turned to social media for help, writing on Facebook, “Moms! I need tips for back-to-school! Routines, bedtimes, meal planning etc. We’re transitioning to Kindergarten in three weeks.”

Traffic reporter Danielle Wiggins saw the post and decided to step in and help, arranging for Veney to meet with Dr. Greg Omlor of Akron Children’s Hospital to get tips.


Veney’s children are ages 2 and 5. Dr. Omlor says children zero to 2 need anywhere between 11-14 hours of sleep per day, which includes naps.

Children ages 5-6 need between 11-13 hours.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends school-aged children 6-13 get 10-13 hours of sleep per night. The recommendation is 8-10 hours for teenagers.

“The amount of sleep they need is variable and could range from the lower side or higher side of those numbers,” says Dr. Omlor. “It can be challenging to figure out as a mom how much sleep those children need.”


Dr. Omlor goes on to say if children are waking up on their own in the morning that’s usually a sign they’re getting enough sleep. Parents can also monitor their child’s behavior throughout the day. Even if the child struggles to wake up, if they’re functioning fine the rest of day they’re probably well rested.

More tips from Dr. Omlor include:

  • Set a consistent bedtime and don't alter it by more than 30-60 minutes on weekends. That means don’t stay up late or sleep in on days off. Otherwise it makes it harder to fall asleep during the week.
  • Develop a soothing routine that doesn't include TV, screens, exercise, or heavy meals 30 minutes before bedtime. These activities arouse the senses and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Make the bedroom a relaxing place where children want to sleep. It should not be a place where they are punished or have a television or gaming system.