Parenting kids to get the sleep they need is tough. Kids love their screens, and all summer long they’ve stayed up late and probably slept-in, too. But lazy sleep habits can have bad effects on kids, especially if they’re up late then up early for school. If kids aren’t getting enough sleep, they won’t be able to stay alert for learning throughout the school day. We’ve all seen the kids asleep on their desk at school.
To help kick the school year off right, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers guidelines:
- Children ages 6 to 12 should 9 – 12 hours a night.
- Teens ages 13 – 18 should get 8 – 10 hours.
How to Get Kids the Sleep They Need
Be consistent: Set and maintain a schedule that helps reinforce the notion of turning in: bath time, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas and perhaps reading a book together. Routine is very important; aim to retain your consistency on the weekends, too.
Store gadgets elsewhere: Sure, it might be a struggle to wrench away smartphones and tablets, but the devices can delay sleep and exacerbate insomnia. Checking social media and texting keeps you up longer plus the artificial light can disrupt your kids’ sleep-wake cycle.
Cut the caffeine: Soda and other sugary caffeinated beverages aren’t a good choice at any time, but they’re especially potent when a child is trying to wind down. If you do allow them, don’t serve any four to six hours before bedtime. Opt for water or milk instead.
Create a refuge: A child’s bedroom should be conducive to slumber. Consider blackout curtains or blinds and make sure the space isn’t overly hot or cold. Although the bed itself is a tempting place to do homework or watch television, it should be used only for sleeping.