We have a special guest blogger who explains the importance of SLEEP for children and some healthy habits to help promote it..

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A Good Night’s Rest = A Good Day At School

(& Maybe A Thank You From Your Kid’s Teacher)

Have you ever stayed up too late watching a movie, enjoying a concert, or reading chapter-after-chapter of a book you just can’t put down only to wake up the next day in a fog that no amount of coffee can get you out of? The same is true for your kiddos after a long night - and they have to get through the day without coffee!

While adults may be able to soldier through the day on very little sleep, it’s much more difficult for kids to do the same because they require significantly more sleep. A study published by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found a direct correlation between the quality and quantity of sleep and daily cognitive performance in elementary children (aged 8-11). In the study, the kids that weren’t getting enough sleep consistently demonstrated lower average performance scores than those who had a full night of rest.  

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 9-12 hours of sleep a day for children between 6-12 years old and 8-10 hours for teenagers between 13-18 years old. Sticking to these parameters promotes good mental and physical health, improved attention, better behavior, increased ability to regulate emotion, and an overall better quality of life. Who doesn’t want that for their kid?!

Unfortunately, we only have so much control over our kids’ sleep (and the “Sandman” hasn’t proven to be much help), but there are still some things we can do to help promote healthy sleeping habits in our kids.

  • Stick to a Routine: It was true when they were infants and it’s still true now, a routine helps their body regulate itself. Try to encourage your child to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day to keep their body clocks on track.
  • Stow Away Screens: It’s no secret that phone, tablet, computer, and TV screens make falling, and staying, asleep difficult, so try to keep them out of your kids’ bedrooms.
  • Make The Bedroom A Cozy Space: Do what you can to make your child’s bedroom a place he/she can relax in with dimmable lights, a comfortable temperature (which may require a fan or space heater), blackout curtains, and a white noise machine.
  • Watch The Bedtime Snacks: Don’t let your kiddo go to bed hungry, but try to avoid any snacks with caffeine or added sugar, as they will make it more difficult for your child to fall asleep.
  • Lay Down The Law: Set limits on how many bedtime stories you will read or for how long he/she can quietly play or read before it’s lights out. This one may be tough at first, but try to stick to it (and remember, your child does not need three glasses of water to fall asleep - it’s stalling, not thirst!).
  • Keep The Kids Out Of Your Bed: Allowing your child to crawl into your bed night after night creates a bad habit. In fact, a randomized controlled trial found that this habitual sleeping pattern is similar to “needing” the TV on to fall asleep. Stop the habit in its tracks and encourage your child to go back to his/her own bed (unless there is a valid reason for co-sleeping for a night).

Sleep is a key component of your child’s overall health, wellness, and daily performance. If you’ve suddenly been getting less-than-stellar feedback from your child’s teacher about behavior, attention, or attitude start to monitor sleep habits to see if there needs to be an adjustment. Make the changes that you have control over and then give it time, you’ll likely find the problem works itself out. If, however, you’ve done all you can to encourage sleep and your child still seems sleep deprived, it’s best to consult a physician to get to the bottom of things.


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