Sleep is one of those issues that people do not want anyone telling them what is best. I’ve learned this over the years of teaching. I’ve had so many children tell me that they only need 8 hours of sleep…. ummmm nope that’s not enough. Quite often when children do not get enough sleep on a regular basis they don’t act tired, they act wired! Sleep issues is a question that is often brought up when people are considering ADD/ADHD.
I’m one of those mean parents. My sons who are 11 and 9 go to bed at 8pm. This is lights out go to sleep time. They head upstairs around 7:30 to read. My sons’ alarm clocks go off a 6am. That means if they fell right to sleep they’d get 10 hour of sleep. Which if you look at the chart above is the minimum needed for their age range. (Richard and I sleep from 9:30/10:00pm-6am)
While I know they wish they had a later bedtime, and they will over the summer time, I do it because it is what they need.
Sleep is such a vital part of human development. Children grow physically and mentally while they sleep. This is the body’s opportunity to slow down and process the effects of the day.
Sleep is important in a healthy lifestyle. It is just as important as diet and exercise, but it is so often overlooked. Instead of letting your child drink caffeine to keep awake (yes more and more people are doing this younger and younger) or even yourself for that matter. Instead of saying his isn’t tired he just keeps going. Or hitting that 3pm wall… look at your sleep schedule. What time do you need to wake up? What time does your child have to get out of bed? Take that time and work backwards. Yes the first few nights of going to bed earlier will be hard. Do it in small increments, keep adding a few more minutes of sleep each night until you get yourself/your child into the ideal sleep range. (know that the range is a suggestion and some will need more and some will need less, but this is a guideline).
If you are switching your child’s sleep schedule explain why. Show them research or at least the graphics they show how much sleep they need. Talk about how long it takes them to fall asleep. Talk about healthy sleep routines that will help. Stop using electronics 1 hour before going to bed.
Get a good night sleep… your body will thank you!