Healthy Sleeping Habits for Kids

Cute little girl sleeping in bed cuddling teddy bear at home in bedroom
Cute little girl sleeping in bed cuddling teddy bear at home in bedroom

 

Children crave structure throughout adolescence, and gaining a structure of some kind or another impacts them at any age. One thing that is important to build a routine for is bedtime. No matter the age, proper sleep habits and an ample amount of sleep in general are necessary to the focus and development of children.

Tips offered by nationwidechildrens.org include having a bedtime routine such as reading or listening to music, avoiding drinks with caffeine, especially in the afternoon or evening, and eating regularly.

Another point to consider is keeping a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning will keep the body in a routine rather than keeping it guessing and unregulated at all times. The site recommends even waking at the same time on the weekends as during the school week. If sleeping late, however, is too alluring, then it is recommended to wake up within two hours of normal waking time. For instance, if you wake up at 7:00 a.m. during the week, sleep no later than 9:00 a.m. on the weekends. Whatever bedtime you choose, keep in mind that it’s recommended small children get 10 to 11 hours of sleep every night and teens get eight to nine hours of sleep every night.

Also, the bed should be for sleeping only. It is important to not allow children to watch t.v., read, or eat in bed unless these things are part of a bedtime routine. Watching t.v. in bed in the middle of the day or eating lunch in bed rather than with the rest of the family cause confusion about the purpose of a bed in the first place. It is meant for sleeping and should be used for that purpose alone. Confusing the bedroom with a playroom will only make sleep and bedtime harder for a child.

Additional recommendations from healthychildren.org include not overscheduling children with extracurriculars, monitoring screen times because the light they give off stimulates the brain and keeps it awake and alert, and being active during the day.

There are so many steps that can be taken to create a healthy sleep routine for children, but many of them share one strong point of commonality. Children need a routine. To wake up at the same time, go to sleep at the same time, eat at the same time, turn electronics off at the same time, etc. creates a stable and functioning environment for a child and aids them in being successful in school and extracurricular activities.