By Jesse Sarles

(CBS4) – As kids get ready to head back to school, waking up early again won’t be easy. After months of sleeping in, it takes time to get those bedtime routines back on track.

On CBSN Denver, pediatric neurologist Dr. Jessica Litwin provided some tips to help parents. She says preschoolers should get 11 hours of sleep every night. Kids between six- and 12-years old need at least nine hours, and teenagers need at least eight hours.

“Having a consistent routine is so important for all kids,” says Dr. Litwin. “Having a set bedtime, having a thing they know they can expect like a bath or shower, or reading a book is key.”

One of her biggest recommendations to getting better sleep is to get rid of those screens.

“Screens can be relaxing but at the same time it’s very stimulating to our brains. It can affect our sleep quality and even our ability to fall asleep. So, having a relaxing, screen-free, consistent routine is a great idea. And that applies to moms and dads too, not just the kids.”

For children who really struggle to fall asleep, Dr. Litwin says something like a white noise machine or even playing soft music could really help. But if your child continually struggles with sleep, it may be time to see a specialist.

“Pay attention to the timing of their sleep and the quality of their sleep. Pay attention to their mood, their behavior, and their attention skills in school. If it looks like they are restless or are snoring at night, I would definitely have that evaluated.”

Jesse Sarles