A famous ‘old wives tale’ that science proved to be true is that children need adequate sleep daily to lead a healthy and balanced life. It wasn’t your mom just trying to be complicated or punishing you by sending you for a midday nap. Now it’s time to carry on the healthy habits to your children.
If your child is struggling to concentrate, being moody or unruly, or even showing signs of obesity, improper sleeping patterns can be at the root of it. According to Dr. Rachel Dawkins, M.D. at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, your child needs up to 16 hours of sleep per day for optimal health.
How Much Sleep Should Your Child Get Daily?
According to science, this is the amount of sleep you should plan for, for your child:
- Up to one year old, you should aim for 16 hours of sleep per day.
- Between one and two years old, your child needs up to 14 hours of sleep.
- Your toddler between two and five needs between 10 and 13 hours of sleep per day.
- Children between six and 12 years of age still need up to 12 hours.
- Teens between 13 and 18 should get eight to 10 hours of sleep daily.
What Are the Health Benefits of Adequate Sleeping Routines?
Sleep is a vital building block for your child’s development, both mentally and physically. The medical professionals at Sleepfoundation.org have researched this topic extensively and have determined that sleep impacts crucial factors in your child’s growth and development.
Children’s sleep patterns impact:
- Their happiness.
- Their ability to pay attention
- Alertness levels
- A child’s mood
- Cognitive performance
- Their learning and memorizing ability
- A young child’s motor skill development and memory consolidation.
How Do I Nurture Healthy Sleeping Patterns for My Child?
As a parent, the ball is in your court. It would help to start with healthy bedtime routines from birth, but don’t despair if you didn’t. Reading an article on best firm mattresses is a great start, as a comfortable bed plays a vital role. If you combine it with the expert tips we provide here, your kids will be bouncing and happy all day long.
Educational advice for parents is freely available, and we chose the top four tips to guide you.
Allocate Individual Bedtimes for Each Child
If your children are in different age groups, develop a sleeping routine for each one based on his/her age requirements. Your five-year-old doesn’t need the same amount of sleep as your two-year-old.
The youngest should get to bed earliest, at around 6 or 7 p.m. If it’s possible for you as a family, it would be great to have an early family dinner at about 5 p.m. There are multiple benefits to eating together as a family that would also soothe your children and prepare them for a good night’s rest.
Your older child needs less sleep, and their bedtime routine will also look different. There are specific sleep patterns that are difficult to counter. If your child is an early bird, it won’t make a difference if you put them to bed later; they’ll still wake up early. The same goes for late sleepers. You’ll have to get them to bed first for their bodies to be content with early wake-ups.
The new routine might be a struggle for the first few weeks, but if you gently, yet firmly, repeat it each night, it’ll soon become a habit, and your home won’t feel like a bedtime warzone each night.
Wind Things Down When the Sun Sets
In a modern-day world filled with electronics, this is more complicated than it was 50 years ago. Now each home has cellphones, a laptop, and TVs turned on all day.
These devices can be problematic in many ways. As parents, you need to set the rules for nighttime electronic use at home. It’s advisable that when the sun sets, the gadgets also need to ‘take a nap.’ It’ll help your children to calm down and unwind in preparation for a good night’s rest.
The same goes for the parents as it’ll help you focus on your child’s needs and stick to a bedtime routine. It’s all too easy to get caught up in a Facebook debate or another quick online chat. Put those phones away and see how it improves the tranquility before bedtime.
Develop Individual Wake up Routines
The same principle works for their wake up times and routines. Schedule each child’s time to get up around your morning activities.
If your older child has to get ready for school, it makes sense to wake them up first and get the day started. It’ll also alleviate parents’ stress if each child has her/his routines and attention from you.
You can work out sleeping times for each child according to the minimum sleep required and plan their wake up time.
Be Mindful of Sleeping Disorders
If you’ve done everything according to the book and your child still struggles to get a good night’s rest, it might be that he/she has a sleeping disorder. There are sure signs you can look for to identify the possibility.
- Your child continually struggles to fall asleep.
- They snore.
- They breathe through their mouth.
- Your child has regular nightmares.
If you recognize any of these symptoms, it’s advisable to talk to your pediatrician about potential sleeping disorders and treatments.
The Bottom Line
There’s an old proverb that states that we should bend the tree while it’s still young. It’s the best advice to follow when installing and nurturing good sleeping habits for your kids. The benefits to their overall health are remarkable, and they’ll thank you for it when they grow up. Use our tips and see them work for you and your family.