(NBC News) Back to school preparations are in full swing, but something many kids and parents don't plan for is the impending pre-dawn wake up call.
Sleep specialists say the transition to an early bed and wake up time needs to start weeks before the first day of school.
"All of their biologic rhythms in their brain and body are getting accustomed to that late sleeping and getting up time, and we need to shift them to the school schedule," explains Dr. Gary Montgomery.
Dr. Montgomery is the director of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sleep Center.
He says teenagers in particular need about two weeks to prepare for that early wake up call.
Parents can help by getting their kids up an hour earlier every other day until they meet the desired time for school.
"Parents will notice that their child is naturally sleepy earlier at night, as we march that wake up time," he says.
Establishing a predictable night time routine can help with the transition.
Quiet activities, like reading a book, are recommended. Young children may need one-on-one time with mom or dad to calm down and prepare for sleep.
And when it's time for lights out, that includes all electronic devices.
Elementary school age children need about ten to 12 hours of sleep each night; teenagers need nine.
However, each kid is different.
You'll know your child is getting enough sleep when it is easy for them to go to bed and to wake up in the morning.
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