7 Healthy Sleep Habits for Children
Parents nowadays are being so protective of their kids. They tend to worry about their children’s physical and mental state, especially now that most of their kids are mostly at home due to the pandemic. In these kinds of situations, it is best to practice healthy sleep habits for children to keep up with the daily energy their body needs.
Given the current circumstances, parents are now more active in seeking alternative ways of staying fit mentally and physically, not only for themselves but for the entire family. They should also know whether their kids have the right amount of sleep they need for the day.
In this article, we will be providing guidelines, best practices regarding a healthy sleep habit for kids and the whole family, the benefits your kids can get, risks of sleep deprivation, and more.
How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
This varies depending on the age of the kid or the child. The most common that we know is 8-10 hours. Little did you know that those numbers are best suggested for teenagers ages 13-18 years of age, while for grade-schoolers it’s 9-12 hours of sleep including short naps according to the information from www.nationwidechildrens.org.
Here are some data according (AASM) or the American Academy of Sleep Medicine on how many hours of sleep do kids need in a day:
- Infants 4-12 months old (12-16 hours)
- Toddlers 1-2 years old (11-14 hours)
- Preschoolers 3-5 years old (10-13 hours)
- Grade schoolers 6-12 years old (9-12 hours)
- Teens 13-18 years old (8-10)
As you can see, when a child gets older, sleeping hours tend to get less by around 1-2 hours.
The younger the child, the longer sleeping hours he or she needs. And for older children, sleeping patterns change depending on the activities. That is why a healthy sleeping habit is best advised by medical professionals to be practiced when at a young age. This is to avoid problems that may occur in the future that may affect your child’s mood, behavior, and emotional health.
Make Sleeping A Family Priority
To help the children to learn and practice a healthy sleeping habit. It is best suggested to make it a family priority so that kids will adapt to the sleeping routines he or she grew up with. It is essential to set the goals and limits for your children. Parents must be clear to their children regarding sleep deprivation and that it is not better for their health, especially when you are at a young age.
Here are some points for the family to consider:
- Clear limits when the lights are turned off.
- Relax before sleeping. Taking a bath is suggested to feel refreshed and relaxed before going to bed.
- Spend time with your kids before going to bed. Read them a book or talk to them so they may feel more comfortable sleeping.
- Set the mood in the room. Dim lights, soft music, or room temperature can be a factor.
- Avoid eating heavy meals before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine drinks, energy drinks, or any drinks that stimulate.
- Try to avoid afternoon naps, as kids may have a hard time sleeping at night time.
- Do not overeat, especially when you are about to sleep.
- Try to do some exercises.
- Set an alarm clock for waking up.
Be Active Throughout the Day
Another personal recommendation for the kids to help them have a good sleep quickly at night is to be more active during the daytime. Try to set physical activities for them during the morning. Doing sports is a good recreation. Anything that would make their body feel tired and want to go to bed after a tiring day to make a quality sleep.
Just make sure that the activity you will set for them is an exciting and interesting thing to make it a repetitive habit for your children.
Walk outside. Breathe fresh air. Get some sunlight, and do some minimal exercise with your kids is a good idea. With this, they may also be able to feel energized and refreshed.
For kids aged 13 years and below, let them play outside. But for now, since we have a pandemic happening, your backyard is the best place to roam around.
Watch out for Excessive Screen Time
Since we are in the modern age, most kids are into mobile phones, tablets, or laptops. It is also a must for parents to limit the screen time of using these gadgets. Excessive use of mobile devices, especially at night, may lead to sleep disruption.
As advised by the AAP or American Academy of Pediatrics, it is best to turn off all of the screens inside a room an hour before going to bed. This is for your child to focus on the idea of falling asleep and sleeping alone.
Another tip for parents is to avoid putting in televisions, computers, or any electronics with screens inside your child’s room. Unless they are already in their teenage years, wherein you can let them do these things independently.
Teens Require More Sleep Than Children
Although teens are not considered kids anymore, parents must know that they require more sleep than younger children and not less as teens grow older and get busier with their daily lives with their activities outside.
Their bodies tend to get tired quickly, so they need longer hours to sleep better and recover the energy they have spent for the whole day. Considering they have a more active lifestyle inside and outside the house.
Parents must also be wary of the sleeping habits their teenagers are practicing and not only focus on the younger ones to promote a healthy lifestyle. The poor sleeping habit must be of recognition early to avoid and lead to severe hypertension, obesity, frequent headaches, and depression.
Make Bedrooms Comfy
Another best way to influence your kids and children to follow the implemented sleeping patterns that parents impose is to make bedrooms sleep-friendly. A safe zone where your kids feel extreme comfort and protection. Try to decorate your child’s bedroom depending on their favorite character, or make a thematic room for your kids.
Dim lights with a relaxing color is a great idea. So they may become more encouraged and excited to stay in the room and enjoy the sleeping time that you want for them to follow. Just make sure to check room temperature and avoid putting lots of toys and other things that will keep them busy and lose the idea of having a good night’s sleep.
Talk to Your Pediatrician
You always see and hear from commercials or in any medicines if ‘symptoms persist, consult your doctor.’ It’s the same as with sleep problems. Suppose you see or feel that there is something wrong with your child’s sleeping habit, like waking up in the middle of the night.
It is best to consult your pediatrician immediately to suggest the best way to deal with these kinds of problems and know how your child feels.
Poor sleeping habits and sleeping problems in children must be of consideration as a serious matter for parents. Data shows that 40% of children and teenagers are having trouble when it comes to sleeping. This is due to the factors inside and outside your home.
Too many gadgets and many activities before the usual sleeping hours are the common problems that affect your child’s sleep. This leads to losing focus and attention, changes in behavior, emotions, social relationships, and work or school performance.
That is why the best way to address this issue is to consult early on your pediatrician, as this is an easy matter that is easily treated.
Consistency is Key
Having healthy sleep habits for children plan is essential for every parent. And to execute and make things according to the plan, you need one key factor — consistency.
Once you’re consistent in doing all the tips and suggestions that we have provided in this article, your success in planning to practice the best sleeping habit for your child is on the way.
It is also a must to consider that you are a role model for your kids. Try again to practice a healthy sleeping habit yourself, so your kids will see and follow what you are doing. Being a good example for your kids and the rules you have set will be obeyed without having any problems.
Sleep is important. This simple phrase tells it all. Not only for kids, but this is important for everyone. Sleep deprivation is a serious matter that needs attention.
You should address early signs of sleep problems in children immediately to avoid further physical and mental health effects. Consult your doctor, and try to also read topics online regarding how to practice and implement healthy sleep habits for children and the whole family.
It is best to talk to your kids regarding these matters. For them to understand the serious effects on their health that sleep deprivation or sleeping problems may bring.