1 – Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?
School-age kids may not need as much sleep as they did when they were toddlers, but their bodies still require plenty of rest. Kids ages 6 to 13 need approximately 9 to 11 hours of sleep and preschool and kindergarten kids ages 3 to 5 need as much as 10 to 13 hours of shut-eye (exactly how much depends on a child’s individual sleep needs).
School-age children have a lot of things that compete for their attention and cause them to fight going to bed and interfere with their getting enough sleep. At the same time, it becomes more important than ever that they get enough rest since poor sleep can lead to attention and behavioral problems, not doing well in school, increased risk for weight gain, and even reduced immune system health (which can be a big problem for school-age kids since they spend a lot of time in close contact and need to fight off colds and other infections that are passed around in school).
2 – Electronic Devices
TV, cell phones, video games – there’s no shortage of screens calling for your child’s attention, and statistics show that even young children are connected to devices. Not only are these attention vampires addictive and increase the odds that people will ignore each other to stare at their screens (a phenomenon called “phubbing”), but studies have shown that they can interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep.
Don’t let kids watch TV or play video games at least an hour before bedtime, and do something quiet and soothing instead, like taking a bath or reading a book with you. And keep TVs, computers, and other screens out of your child’s bedroom. Even small screens, such as smartphones, have been shown to cause sleep problems for kids when they’re allowed in kids’ bedrooms. A January 2015 study of more than 2,000 kids in 4th to 7th grade published in Pediatrics found that children who sleep near a smartphone or another small-screen device get less sleep than kids who are not allowed to have these types of devices in their bedrooms.
3 – Abrupt Transition to Bed
It’s tough for anyone – a child or a grownup – to abruptly go from being awake to falling asleep without some time and bedtime routines to transition from one to the other. School-age kids, especially younger ones, need a bit of time to go from one thing to another, whether it’s going from one place to another or going to sleep. If you don’t allow your child to have some time to wind down before they head to bed, chances are they won’t be able to fall sleep right away.
Give your child some time to go from being awake to being asleep by making sure there’s quiet and peace at bath time, during teeth brushing, and while reading a book. Have your child put away their toys and books – which can be a relaxing activity – and try some stretching or a few yoga poses. Play some quiet music and dim the lights to get your child into the mindset of rest and bedtime.
– Katherine Lee
Read more: 10 Things That Interfere With Kids’ Sleep
Photo source – Flickr.com