by Lori Lite, founder Stress Free Kids
Obtaining enough sleep is essential for your child’s emotional, physical, and academic well-being. Back- to-School is a big transition for kids and parents as they prepare for early mornings and vigorous schedules. The rest of the year presents a continued battle of early morning wake ups and children wanting to go back to bed. Proper amount of sleep is key to stress free bedtimes and mornings. But what is the proper sleep for children?
Tel Aviv University states that 1 hour of missed sleep can reduce child’s cognitive abilities by 2 years! A 6th grader that stays up too late might perform at a 4th grade level the next day in school.
So how much sleep is necessary for children to be at their best and ready to learn?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids aged 5-12 need 10-11 hours of sleep each night. Children aged 10-18 need a little less — 8.5-9.5 hours per night.
A well rested child performs better in school, has more energy, and emotional stability during the day with a more upbeat positive attitude. Children that practice relaxation techniques have better attendance records, higher test scores, and less visits to the doctor’s office. But all children are different and so are their sleep needs. It is important for parents to know how much sleep their children need and do everything their power to make that happen.
So what can Parents do?
With busy schedules and the daily demands on families it’s a real challenge for kids to constantly get the proper rest needed. There are several things parents can do to make sure children live a balanced life and also get the proper rest. These routines should be started at an early age and continued on throughout the child’s youth.
- Keeping kids busy is great for building a well-rounded child but stay away from over-scheduling. During the school year try and limit your child’s activities. Be aware of how the schedule will impact your bedtime routine.
- Offer your child a light snack 90 minutes prior to bed to allow for proper digestion. Stay away from caffeinated or sugar snacks and focus on easily digested food.
- Have a winding down time between homework or activity and bedtime. Have your child take a bath or shower to relax and reflect on their accomplishments of the day.
- If lights-out is at 8 pm, they should be up in their room 30 minutes prior to begin to settle in and get ready for bed.
- Wind down electronics for the night. No computers, video games, cell phones, texting or television before bed. Unplug for one hour prior to bed.
- Read or spend quality time with your child once they are in bed. It’s a great way to continue that bond with your child and offers them time to talk or ask questions keeping you ‘plugged in” to their lives.
- Offer children relaxation music at an early age especially if they have a tough time shutting their brain down and falling asleep. This music can be used if they wake up unexpectedly during the night.
- Create a safe and comfortable place for children at bed. If they want a favorite blanket or stuffed animal around let them have it.
- Commit to bedtime and try not to make exceptions to the routine. Children love routines.
- Bedtime can be a real rewarding time especially with young children. It forms positive habits at an early age and makes life easier for the family as they get older. When a child understands the need for proper sleep and see the positive effects of being well rested they will be empowered to create a schedule that allows for balance, productivity, and a healthy mind and body.
- Focus on relaxation and sleep will follow!
Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.
Child-friendly melodies and sounds of nature help children achieve a deep state of relaxation and sleep. Treat your children and yourself to magical musical melodies and experience falling asleep peacefully.
LISTEN TO A SAMPLE CLIP
Hear a sample from each track: