During the summer, when it stays light until late in the evenings, it becomes easy for families to drift into stay up late and sleep in late sleep patterns. This may not be a problem until it’s time to start school again, so anticipating the need to resume healthy sleep habits several weeks before school starts is essential.
Here are a few tips to making sure your child gets enough sleep in time for the new school year:
1. Help your child get the amount of sleep they require
Most school aged children need 10-11 hours of sleep a night. This can be very difficult in many families due to evening activities, homework, and favorite TV programs.
2. Avoid any use of screens
Don’t let your child use TV, video games, DVDs, cell phone games, etc. in the 60 minutes before bedtime as this will make it harder for children to fall asleep, due to the stimulation provided. Children should NOT be allowed to have TVs in their bedrooms.
3. One-on-One Time
One-on-one time with a parent at the end of the day is valuable for establishing a good connection.
4. Avoid Caffeine
Children should avoid anything containing caffeine (colas, energy drinks), especially in the afternoon and evening.
5. Keep a Consistent Bedtime Routine
At any age, it is important to have a bedtime routine that can include putting on pajamas, taking a bath, reading a book, saying a prayer, etc. Be consistent in keeping that bedtime routine, without varying the getting ready for bed and lights out time on a day to day basis. It’s worth it to establish healthy sleep patterns to ensure your child will be the best student he can be!
Sleep is essential for your child’s health – just as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Research has shown that children with poor sleep are more likely to be obese and to have sleep difficulties as adults, so I’m not exaggerating the importance of good sleep in children!
Our board-certified sub-specialty physicians provide care in Sleep Medicine. If you and your child continue to struggle with sleep issues, don’t hesitate to discuss this with your provider.