As we move into the end of August, we start thinking about getting back into fall routines. For families that means back to school. You and your kids will be trying to navigate things like healthy lunches, school schedules, and sports schedules.
But I think one of the most important will be your sleep schedule.
Sleep is one of the most important routines for children, so they will have a healthy and alert mind and body.
Let’s look at the benefits of sleep for children. Then we'll turn to ideas for getting them ready for their fall sleep routine
The National Sleep Foundation performed a survey study of over 1500 school children, between 13-16 years old, who continued to use their phones after they went to bed. The kids that used their phones after bed would wake up more tired than those who did not. So have your kids power off their phones and leave them outside of their bedrooms at bedtime.
Start earlier bedtimes before school starts
A few weeks before school starts, have your kids go to bed early so they can get in the routine of sleeping earlier. Be patient with your kids as they become teenagers because they will want to go to bed later as their circadian rhythms change.
Sleep rituals create sleep routines. Creating relaxing and consistent routines will help with quality and quantity of sleep.
A walk after dinner can help your children sleep better at night. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve sleep. As it gets closer to bedtime, don’t let them get too rowdy or it might be difficult to calm them down for sleep.
Create a calm zone
As school gets closer, talk to your kids about any anxiety they have about starting a new year. It can be an amazing opportunity to connect and reassure them. Consider breathing or meditation with your kids. They might really like it! Everyone loves feeling calm.
Sleep is an important part of your children’s health and well-being, not just at school time but all the time. So use these tips to make your children’s sleep the best possible.
By the way, all of these ideas are not only good for your children, they are good for you too!
Well-rested children are considered to have optimal alertness. This means that they are able to be calm and attentive during the day. They can absorb and connect to the events around them. They also tend to be socially at ease, without behavioral or irritability issues.
Children need a sufficient amount of sleep for optimal growth and development. Here are guidelines that illustrate the needed number of hours of sleep per night for children of different ages:
- Preschoolers, age 3-5 years old typically need 11-13 hours of sleep
- School-aged children, 6-13 years old typically need 9-11 hours of sleep
- Teenager, 11-17 years old typically need 8-9 hours of sleep
Quality of sleep
It is important for your child to sleep through the night without interruption. Sound sleep supports a healthy immune system.
Both adults and children have sleep-wake cycles, influenced by circadian rhythms. When children's sleep cycles are undisturbed, they will wake rested and ready for the day.
Now that we know how important sleep is for our kids, let's find ways to help get our kids back into the sleep routines for the school year.
Get rid of electronics
This includes all electronics — computers, phones, tablets, etc. The light from the screen stimulates the receptors in their eyes. This can prevent restful sleep, as it shuts down the production of melatonin, a hormone essential for sleep.