The start of the new school year is right around the corner, which usually means busy schedules full of homework, sports and other after-school activities. While being busy can be a good thing, it can quickly lead to exhaustion for your child if they are not getting enough sleep. Did you know that school-aged children need a recommended 8-12 hours of sleep each night? How can you help promote good sleeping habits while also allowing your child to do everything they want to do?
Here are a few tricks to help promote adequate sleep this school year.
- Make a Routine: Having a routine, regardless of the age of the child, can help promote a sense of security and peace. It can also help the body regulate its sleep-wake cycle so that your child will get tired around the same time each night. For younger children, a bedtime routine may include a bath, brushing their teeth and reading a bedtime story before being tucked into bed. For older children, it may just be finishing up homework, taking a shower, and putting away phones and other electronics.
- Monitor Screen Time: Kids are surrounded by TVs, phones, tablets, and all sorts of other screens. Because screens are stimulating, it is recommended that children do not have any TVs or other screens in their bedroom and for all screens to be turned off at least 60 minutes before bedtime. Rather than watching a show or movie before bed, try to read a book or do another relaxing activity to “wind down” before going to sleep.
- Make Sleep a Positive End to the Day: It is not uncommon for children to fight their bedtimes and insist on staying up later. By creating a more positive sleep environment, it can help teach children the importance of sleep and make going to bed a more positive experience. To help children view sleep more positively, it is important to explain why our body needs sleep and that without enough sleep, we won’t have energy to complete the next day’s activities. It is also important to stress that going to bed is not a punishment but rather a reward for the body after a long day of hard work. Making bedtime a positive experience rather than a forced one can help promote good sleep and more permanent healthy habits for your growing children.
While some of these tips may vary depending on the age of your child, they are still a good guideline to promoting healthy sleep habits for your family.
To learn more healthy habits for your children, contact your pediatrician today: https://www.communityaccessnetwork.org/pediatrics/