Growing up I always loved summer. I loved being able to play in the sun, spend more time with my grandparents, and most importantly not having to go to bed early! It was always a sad time when my parents started putting us to bed early to prepare for school. With school approaching quickly I wanted to talk about sleep – why it is important and how to make it easier for both you and your kids!
This is the suggested amount of sleep kids should get according to the National Sleep Foundation
Newborns (0-3 months): 10.5-18 hours
Infants (4-11 months): 9-12 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years): 11- 13 hours
School-aged children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is important for both children’s mental and physical development, in fact, it is a primary activity of the brain during early development in helping develop a circadian rhythm which is a sleep schedule regulated by light and dark.
Parents also report that sleep is essential for children because it helps the heart, helps fight off germs, improves focus and learning ability, and helps children grow. Almost 40% of children between the ages of 2-6 have had a sleep issue including 6% who deal with night terrors.
Sleep is important to any child’s development and we all know that, but most parents can probably agree that bedtime is not their favorite part of their day. Putting kids to bed can be challenging in a variety of ways. Nationwide Children’s had a few great suggestions for parents in helping their children to sleep better.
- Have a sleep schedule: Your children should not be waking up or going to sleep with a difference of more than an hour. It is important you keep your children on a schedule even on the weekends.
- Have a routine: It is recommended that you have a 20-30 minute routine that can help your children to calm down and prepare for bedtime. Help establish your child’s room as a good place where they will want to be. Avoid making it a spot where they do time out so they can maintain calm and happy feelings in their space.
- Avoid things like television, outdoor play, caffeine, and other activities that may cause your children to become more energetic. Children should not go to bed hungry. You may choose to provide a light, healthy snack just before bedtime.
So, whether you are trying to get your school-aged children on a better sleep schedule or just trying to help a toddler struggling with bedtime. I hope that these tips can help you and your family sleep better!
Does your child still struggle with going to bed or staying asleep? Call Help Me Grow and a Parent Support Specialist would be happy to give you free personalized advice.