For most students, school is officially back in session. Our children arrive at school in new classrooms ready to learn new material. It may seem like a long time ago for most of us, but learning science, math, English, history and a host of other subjects is a lot for kids to take in. One very important thing that is commonly overlooked that can make a world of difference in your child’s performance at school is getting a good night’s sleep.
Getting a good night’s rest is important for all of us to perform our best throughout the day. This is especially true for growing children who need even more rest than adults. Their brains are not fully developed, they are in a constant state of learning and they need the proper rest to help their brains absorb more.
So, how much sleep should your school-aged child be getting a day? The number of hours of sleep varies per child’s age, so it’s helpful to know the recommended amount.
For children ages 3 - 6, it is recommended that they get 10 - 12 hours of sleep per day.
For children ages 7 - 12, it is recommended that they get 10 - 11 hours of sleep per day.
For children ages 12 - 18, it is recommended that they get 8 - 9 hours of sleep per day.
If getting your kids to sleep is an uphill battle, you are definitely not alone. Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for sleep.
Bedtime Routine Consistency
Consistency is key for developing children. Erratic sleep patterns make getting the correct amount of sleep difficult.
Make the Bedroom a Sleep Environment
Keeping the bedroom dark and quiet is important for children to sleep. Children are easily stimulated by light and sounds, making it difficult for them to sleep. If the sun is still out around their bedtime, consider darkening curtains to keep a proper sleeping atmosphere.
Cool air helps kids go to sleep faster. Discomfort from heat slows down the process for kids to fall asleep.
Limit Sugar and Caffeine at Night
Sugar and caffeine can really alter your sleep cycle when consumed in the evening. That burst of energy can affect the amount of sleep your child is receiving, making the next day at school challenging.
Keep Screens Out
Last, but probably the most important, is keeping computing devices out of their hands. Watching TV, playing video games, or chatting with their friends online can be very stimulating and keeps even disciplined adults from getting to bed at a normal hour. While computers, smart phones and other electronic devices device can be handy, they can also be an obstacle for sleeping.
These suggestions are easier said than done, but they can make a huge difference in your child’s emotional and academic development. Getting the age-appropriate amount of sleep helps enable your child to perform their best during this important stage in their life. It’s a key step in helping your child be the best they can be at school.