Sleep is essential in a child’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It promotes growth, prevents illness, and boosts learning capabilities. In fact, sufficient sleep considered equally important for kids as good nutrition and regular exercise.
School-aged children need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep is common in this age group, given increasing school obligations (e.g. homework), evening activities, and later bedtimes. Sleep problems are also common in school-aged children, including sleepwalking, sleep terrors, teeth grinding, nighttime fears, snoring, and noisy breathing.
When it comes to helping your older child with their sleep, here are our top tips:
- Know how much sleep your child should be having: 3 – 5 year olds need an average of 10-13 hours sleep per 24 hours, where as 6-10 year olds need 9-11 hours. It’s a good idea to work backwards from the time they need to wake up in the morning. For example, if your 7 year old needs approximately 10.5 hours of sleep per night and need to get up for school at 7am, they should be in bed ready to sleep by 8.30pm. Some 7 year olds will need more than 10.5 hours, some slightly less, each child is different.
- Develop a regular sleep schedule. Your child should go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day.
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine. School-aged children continue to benefit from a bedtime routine that is the same every night and includes calm and enjoyable activities. Including one-on-one time with a parent is helpful in maintaining communication with your child and having a clear connection every day.
- Set up a soothing sleep environment. Make sure your child’s bedroom is comfortable, dark, cool, and quiet. A nightlight is fine; a television is not
- Set limits. If your school-aged child stalls at bedtime, be sure to set clear limits, such as what time lights must be turned off and how many bedtime stories you will read.
- Turn off televisions, computers, and radios. Television viewing, computer-game playing, internet use, and other stimulating activities at bedtime will cause sleep problems.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can be found in sodas, coffee-based products, iced tea, and many other substances.
- Exercise. Your child should spend time outside every day and get daily exercise. Fresh air, sunlight and running around all help to make your children healthy and also tired enough to sleep well at the end of the day.
- Add a nightlight. Your child’s bedroom should be comfortable, relaxing and quiet. Child night-lights can be a source of comfort and reassurance for children and signal that it is time to wind down and relax. Little Belle Nightlights are the perfect addition to any child's space: www.little-belle.com