• How parents can make back-to-school routine less stressful


    Making the switch to the school routine is no easy task, and the word stressful is what many parents use to describe it.

    "It's just a whole different way of life when they start back," Amanda Enie said.

    Back to school is exciting for many children, but parents like Krystal Danylo, a mother of two, find it stressful.

    "Back to the grind of early morning, lunch, working lunch rooms, after school activities," Danylo said. 

    Dr. Deepa Burman, co-director of the Pediatric Sleep Evaluation Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, warns parents to be careful showing stress.

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    "Parental stress impacts how the child feels, too," Burman said. 

    Burman said preparation is the best way to combat stress, along with a healthy sleep routine, which most families typically change during the summer. 

    "Some parents unleash the schedule and let the kids stay up really late and wake up late, and those are hard to get back on track," Burman said.

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    Burman recommends starting with working on a consistent wake-up time, and the bedtime will follow. She said to stick to the routine, even on weekends. 

    "When kids wake up later on the weekend, the light exposure is later," Burman explained. "The bedtimes are pushed later on the weekends, and so, on the weekdays, that is really hard for them to come back to schedule."

    And while the morning and bedtime routines are coming together, remember to breathe. 

    "Back-to-school shopping, the two weeks before school, I would say that is worse than Black Friday and Christmas," Danylo said.

    Burman said a child napping after school for about 30 minutes is OK, but any later in the evening will impact their sleep routine.

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