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What parents need to know to get bedtime right

There’s nothing like the back-to-school blues to play havoc with children’s sleep schedules. Scientific researchers are refining what we know about sleep and its crucial function in memory and general health. And as they increasingly turn their focus to children and the relationship between sleep, biology and development, the reasons to get it right are only proliferating.

Most experts recommend an average of 12 hours for toddlers and school-age kids. This can mean 10½ for some kids and 13 for others. And all experts stress consistency in sleep and wake times as a way to maintain circadian rhythms.
Experts say that regardless of the methods out there to get bedtime back on track – from reward-based sticker charts to timers and cut-the-apron-strings techniques – the key is that bedtime become non-negotiable, much like bad-tasting medicine for a sick child or a car seat.

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