With the new school year right around the corner, it’s time to say goodbye to carefree summer schedules. For many children and teenagers, the start of school means the start of early mornings. This year, challenge yourself to help your children sleep right.
According to the National Sleep foundation, preschool children need 12 hours of sleep each night. Children under 12 should get 10-11 hours of shut-eye, while those in middle school and high school should aim for a solid nine hours.
Here are a few tips to help your child meet these sleep requirements:
- Create a regular wind down routine at least a 1/2 hour before bedtime. This can include calming activities like bath time or reading a short story.
- Avoid electronics late in the day. Exposure to the bright light of a television or computer will make it more difficult for your child to fall asleep.
- Eat well & exercise. A healthy balanced diet and daily physical activity are two key ingredients to a good night’s sleep. Avoid sugary, or caffeinated foods and drinks late in the day.
- Keep young children away from any television shows or computer games that can potentially give them nightmares or feel afraid to fall asleep.
- Seek natural light in the morning to help your child feel more awake and boost their energy.
- Give your kids a week to adjust to their back-to-school schedule. This may mean going to bed 10 or 15 minutes earlier each night, so that your child will be prepared for the early morning school bell.
- Plan your evenings and make sleep a priority. Count backwards from your child’s target bedtime to allot time for homework, dinner, and other evening activities.
Sleep helps to process the day’s learnings and solidify lessons learned at school. Aside from feeling sleepy during class, lack of sleep has many other negative impacts on children including behaviour and attention issues, poor attitude, and difficulty concentrating. All of these side effects may result in a poor academic performance.
Unfortunately, most children and teenagers do not get the recommended hours of sleep each night. This year, are you up to the challenge of making sleep a priority? Kick off the school year right by ensuring that your child gets the appropriate amount of sleep every night.