Back-to-school health tips for parents and kids

  • ​Establish a sleep routine

    Going back to school means an end to staying up late. To help your child transition back to waking up early, Dr. Warren Seigel, Chairman of Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital in New York, says it's important to establish a new sleep routine. "Start with going to bed one hour earlier every night and waking up early until the new routine is established," he told CBS News. "It needs to be done a week or two before going back to school, not the night before school starts."

    The National Sleep Foundation provides guidelines for the amount of sleep children should get at different ages. They suggest kids between the ages of 3 and 5 get 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night; ages 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep; and teens 14 and older should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.

    Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director of Duke's Healthy Lifestyles Clinic and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Community and Family Medicine, also offered some advice to help kids fall asleep easier. "Taking a hot bath cools the body down and triggers the central nervous system to induce sleep," she said. "Also turning the lights down an hour or two before bedtime."

    Studies have shown that the glowing light from cellphone and tablet screens can disrupt sleep cycles, so make sure kids put electronic devices away well before bedtime.