The countdown to the beginning of the school year has begun for both parents and children alike. Kids are cramming in as much twilight playtime as possible and parents are rushing around fulfilling school supply checklists.
One thing that should be added to the back-to-school list is establishing a regular sleep schedule. Children usually form different sleeping habits during the summer – sleeping in, irregular nap schedules, and later bed times.
Many sleep experts agree that a consistent sleep schedule with the proper hours of sleep isn’t only important to a child’s health, it can also affect their grades. Studies show that lack of sleep can cause a child to become fidgety and distracted in a classroom, with extreme cases even resulting to falling asleep in class. According to WebMD, 2/3 of all children have some kind of sleep problem.
Even though it may be tempting to let your child enjoy the last days of summer with late nights, it will be a much easier transition to the school schedule if you start 10-14 days before school starts, slowly adjusting the going to bed and wake times until they are where they need to be.
Here are additional sleep tips for adjusting your child’s sleep pattern for school and general good sleep health:
- Keep a regular sleep schedule throughout the week and avoid extreme changes over breaks and weekends.
- Limit caffeine consumption, especially after lunch.
- Restrict electronics from the bedroom –TV’s, phones, tablets.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, like reading.
- Keep room temperature cool so their bodies can reach optimum sleeping temperature.
- Make sure children are getting proper amount of exercise each day, it will improve their quality of deep sleep.
- Ensure your child has a proper pillow and mattress. If uncomfortable, they will toss and turn.
A poll by The National Sleep Foundation showed that parents can make a difference by setting boundaries around electronics use and enforcing rules. Another important factor in children not just getting good sleep, but forming good sleep habits, is for parents to set a good example. By adopting good sleep habits yourself, your children are less likely to form bad ones.
For more information on children and sleep, visit these web sites:
by Angela Chism