What if you were told that there was one small thing that you could do to ensure your child’s success in school? What if you were told that it would be something that would help to set up your child for a healthy adult life? What if you were told that it was something as simple as sleeping for a proper amount of hours every night? It’s True! Children who do not get enough sleep can have their cognitive ability and academic achievement affected. They may even suffer from a large amount of health problems later in life. In today’s culture, children are getting less sleep than they were 30 years ago: almost a full hour less! This can come from many reasons but it is important to understand how you can make a positive impact in your child’s sleep schedule.
Lack of sleep can affect children in many different ways. It can alter them in many ways ranging from falling asleep during class to disruption in cognitive function. Young children are to get at least 9-11 hours of sleep a night for good development. As a parent, you can help you child succeed through helping your children sleep. Making some simple changes to your child’s sleep schedule can truly benefit your children!
- Make sleep a priority in your house. If you lead by example then your child will follow you! It can be easy to let this fall by the wayside, but setting a strict bedtime can prepare your child for setting a good sleep schedule.
- Don’t catch up on sleep during the weekends. This is one that everyone is guilty of, either for their kids or for themselves. It is important to retain the sleep schedule set during the week. If your child is sleeping in on the weekend, then their sleep schedule can be altered. This can result in lower quality sleep or inability to fall asleep at a proper time in the night on weekends.
- Set a bedtime routine. To avoid battles of bedtime, setting a routine will help your child get used to going to bed at a set time in a set way. Doing so allows them to know when bedtime is coming and will give them time to wind down.
- No late night TV, phone, or computer time. Staring at screens can keep the brain awake and overly alert. It will keep your child from being able to fall asleep at a proper time and will also keep them from getting into deep sleep if there are electronics on during the bedtime. Ensure that electronics are put away at least 3o minutes before bedtime.
- Ensure that your child has exercise built into their day. Many children can be wound up and full of energy and may be suffering from a lack of exercise. Completing daily exercise helps children to stay fit, be active, and will burn energy that may keep them up at night.
- Limit caffeinated and sugary drinks. Caffeine and beverages high in sugar can have impacts on the body’s sleep schedule for hours upon hours after they have been drank. Limit this as much as you can for your child and if they are to drink these beverages they should be drank no later in the day than 2pm to ensure that they are not affecting the sleep schedule.
- Check in with your child’s teachers. Make sure that they are alert, awake, and focused during class when you are away from them. If your child’s teacher doesn’t note that they are alert, awake, and focused during class it might be a sign that they are not getting enough good sleep at home.
Sleep is the key for child development and making some of these simple changes can truly benefit your child academically and developmentally!