Start with a Good Nighttime Routine
In the summer months parents often allow later bedtimes, usually compensating with sleeping in later each morning. However, getting adequate sleep once school begins is important for children of all ages as inadequate rest can lead to lowered resistance, and increased susceptibility to illness.
So exactly how much sleep should your child be getting? According to the National Sleep Foundation the amount varies by age:
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours each night
- School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours each night
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours each night
Getting a restful night’s sleep often starts with a good nighttime routine. The following are some helpful tips for establishing good sleep habits for your child:
- Start a quiet time, such as listening to music or reading a book, 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime. TV should not be a part of the quiet time.
- After quiet time, follow with a bedtime routine such as a changing into pajamas, going to the bathroom, and brushing teeth.
- Set a time limit for quiet time and the routine so it does not drag on and your child knows what to expect before bedtime.
- Say goodnight, turn off the light, and leave the room.
- It is important for children to be put to bed awake so they learn to fall asleep themselves.
- Security objects, such as a special blanket or stuffed animal, can be part of the bedtime routine.
Keep in mind good sleep habits won’t happen overnight and it may take several nights for your child to get used to the new plan. Start easing in to an earlier bedtime over the next few weeks so that by the first day of school your child is rested and ready to learn.
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