Now that school has begun, it is important to ensure that our children are getting to bed at a decent time to have the rest they need. Their performance and learning ability in school depends on it. But, just how much sleep do our children need each night?
There is an excellent article online about our children’s sleep habits at healthychildren.org. It may be surprising to you to find out that children from 3 to 5 years old need 10 to 13 hours of sleep a day and children from 6 to 12 years old need 9 to 12 hours of sleep a day. Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours.
Some recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics are:
1. Have a daily family routine for sleeping. Include nap times as well during the day. Children will understand and be ready to go to sleep when there has been a regular routine established at night and bedtime is set.
2. Be sure to keep all sorts of electronic screens out of your children’s bedrooms at night as they have been known to cause sleep disruption. In fact, it is recommended that all electronics be turned off at least 1 hour before bedtime.
3. Prepare your children for going to sleep. For example, you may want to incorporate a bedtime story just before tucking them into bed and turning off the light. Children love being read to and I can’t think of a more perfect way for children to wind down and get ready for sleep than having a story read to them.
4. Be sure to monitor your children’s sleep patterns. Are they going to sleep easily? Are they having problems waking up in the middle of the night? If you have any concerns, speak with your family’s pediatrician about them.
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