We all know that getting children to bed can be challenging, especially with school work, play, activities and parents having to work. However, there is one aspect that we don’t put enough attention on in today’s society, and that is sleep.
Lack of enough sleep has been proven to limit cognitive abilities and daily functioning. We all know how groggy we feel after not getting enough sleep, but for children this can manifest in many other ways, such as disobedience, anger, lack of attention and hyperactivity. In fact poor or inadequate sleep can lead to behavioral problems such as ADHD and cognitive problems that impact your child’s ability to do well at school.
Here are some recommendations for amount of sleep from the national sleep foundation:
- 0-3 months: 11-18 hours total time throughout the day
- 4-11 months: 9-12 hours night time + 30min-2hr daily naps, 1-4 times a day
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours in a total of 24 hours (including nap)
- 3-5 years: 11-13 hours at night
- 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
Getting enough sleep can be difficult if your child is wound up at bedtime.
Here are some tips to build healthy sleeping habits with your child:
- Make a routine and stick to it. Make sure your child understands their main bedtime and the routine before.
- Start early preparations. Start 45 minutes before actual bedtime with bath, books and any other normal routines. This helps your child calm down before lights out.
- Teach them to set their clock. Waking up at a set time also establishes a routine. Give your child this responsibility with an alarm clock and have them set it each night for the next day.
- Avoid TV and electronic devices a minimum of 1 hour before bed. Studies show that TV or gaming devices stimulate the brain and make it difficult to wind down to enter sleep. They are even responsible for nightmares and frequent waking.
- Don’t have TV or electronic devices in the bedroom.
- Avoid any caffeine for older children and sugary drinks such as juices.
- Keep the room dark and cool for best sleeping.
Children with special needs or cognitive difficulties often need more sleep to help their brain and body repair from the day’s activities. Make sure that you talk to your therapist about helping you set a successful bedtime routine. Talk with one of our therapists today to help you answer questions about your child’s development.