AUSTIN (KXAN) — Heading back to school is a big adjustment for everyone.

It can be especially tough for kids with ADHD, autism or other special needs.

Pediatric experts say now is the time for parents and kids to start planning ahead and practicing routines for a smoother transition.

When it comes to focus and attention in the classroom, doctors say everything starts and ends with sleep.

Dr. Daniel Gustkey is a neurologist at Pediatrix Specialty Care of Austin. He recommends parents to start shifting over their kids’ sleep schedule now, to properly prepare for the school year.

“If you’re having a stressful couple of days, or you’re not sleeping well leading up to those first couple days, that can really start things off on the wrong foot,” Dr. Gustkey said. “That can really make it a struggle for the rest of the year.”

Over the summer, it’s common for kids to let loose on their sleep schedule. Sometimes staying up till midnight or sleeping in till noon.

However, this can lead to a lack of focus and attention throughout a structured school day.

Dr. Gustkey also says kids should be relaxed and calm before bed, recommending that parents put phones away and maybe read a book aloud instead.

“Playing video games or watching TikTok on your phone in bed can be negative towards falling asleep,” Dr. Gustkey said. “Because your brain thinks that being in bed is for something else, besides just sleep.”

Here are the recommended hours of sleep required per day:

  • Toddlers (1-3 yrs): 12-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 yrs):11-13 hours
  • School-age (5-12 yrs):10-11 hours
  • Teens (11-17 years): 8.5-9.25 hours
  • Adults: 7-9 hours

To learn more about Pediatrix Specialty Care of Austin, you can visit its website.