Forming Healthy Sleep Habits
Life can be hectic and busy so we sometimes forget about most important part of each day, bedtime! Adequate sleep for all age groups impacts everyday activities and can have long lasting effects on social and mental functioning. Knowing how much sleep a child needs based on their age is the first step to establishing a healthy routine.
Recommended Sleep Time by Age:
- Infants: 12-16 hours, including naps
- Toddlers: 11-14 hours, including naps
- Preschoolers: 10-13 hours, including naps
- Grade-schoolers: 9-12 hours
- Teens: 8-10 hours
Along with getting the right amount of sleep, it is also beneficial for kids to establish and follow a bedtime routine to make healthy habits. Lack of adequate sleep can affect social and metal functioning, as well as lead to behavior and health problems. Children thrive on a regular bedtime routine, so use these tips and tricks to help begin the process of getting ready to get back to school!
Make Sufficient Sleep a Family Priority
Children take after what they see those around them do. It important to be a role model and set a good example by making sleep a priority in the house. Making sleep a priority shows children that it is part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Keep to a Regular Daily Routine
Kids take well to routines when they are structured and easy to follow. Having a routine that includes activities and events at roughly the same time every day will help children feel more secure and comfortable. When it comes to a bedtime routine, start early to allow everything to be done without rush
Be Active During the Day
Including physical activity and fresh air during the day will ease the beginning of bedtime because kids will have less energy to use and be ready for bed. This can be done in countless ways and is a great way to get the whole family out and active together. Try some of these KidsFit At Home activities!
Monitor Screen Time
Screen time can be very harmful for bedtime routines and even for sleep cycles in general. One step that can help stop this is by keeping all screens out of bedrooms. It has been found that turning off screens at least 1 hour before bed can help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Track your screen time with this worksheet and stay unplugged!
Create a Sleep-Supportive and Safe Bedroom Environment
Beginning the process of bedtime can be as simple as dimming the lights in a room and having a controlled temperature that will allow for a comfortable night’s sleep. Helping children understand that their bed is a place to sleep rather than play can be done by keeping all toys out of bed and allowing only 1 or two stuffed animals to sleep with. Trying meditation before bed can also be a great way to start settling down.
Take time every day to wind down and help children begin the process of a night time routine. One way this can be done is by not over packing their schedule to the point where it could alter their routine. Try using this weekly planner to keep track of events and activities. Planning events and activities around your typical routine will help kids not break from the norm.
Talk to Your Child’s Teacher or Care Provider
If you are curious about whether or not your child is getting good sleep each night, talk to their teacher or care provider to find out if they are “zoning out” in school. You can also ask to be made aware of any reports of them falling asleep in school, as well as any learning or behavioral problems.
Ask Your Pediatrician About Sleep Habits
If you find yourself with questions or concerns about sleep problems or habits, ask your pediatrician for any clarification as well as for any suggestions for improvements.