The general scientific consensus is that while school children need approximately 10 to 12 hours sleep, many are only realistically achieving between 7 and 8. This is not conducive to high performance or achievement in school and is thought to be linked with behavioral issues such as ADHD, hyperactivity and mood swings. Children who do not get enough sleep also tend to have poor eating habits and may be obese. Keeping all this in mind, it may be time for you to ask yourself, “Does your child get enough sleep?”
Ask yourself these questions
There is no definitive answer to whether or not your child is achieving enough sleep, but if you answer yes to more than one of the following questions, they may not be.
- Does your child sleep through their alarm and need to be awakened 3 or 4 times before getting out of bed?
- Does your child complain of being tired through the day on a regular basis?
- Does your child need an afternoon nap every day?
- Does your child need to catch up on their sleep on a weekend?
What to do if your child lacks sleep
The key to ensuring your child is getting enough healthy sleep is routine, so here are 8 tips to ensure your child has and sticks to one.
- Ensure that the bedtime you choose allows for your child to get 10 to 11 full hours of sleep.
- Do not allow your child’s bedtime or wake up time to vary by more than 45 minutes any day of the week.
- Wake your child up at the same time every day before school.
- Instill a bedtime routine in your child and stick to it. This may be a bath then story in bed or allowing your child to read to themselves; whatever works for you.
- Do not allow your child to use devices with electronic screens just before bed. Ideally, switch them off at least an hour before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks especially in the afternoon.
- Ensure your child is ready for sleep by encouraging them to exercise and tire themselves out.
- Set a good example for your child and get enough sleep yourself. This not only benefits your child but yourself too.
When to get help with your child’s sleeping routine
If you have followed all the tips above but your child is still not sleeping healthily, it may be time for you to seek professional help. Times this would be the appropriate action include:
- If your child is overly anxious or fearful of going to bed on a regular basis.
- If your child suffers from disruptive snoring and is regularly waking up.
- If your child frequently awakens through the night for no apparent reason.
- If your child is wetting the bed after the age of 7.
- If your child suffers from frequent or repetitive nightmares.
- If your child is suffering from being tired every day despite achieving 10 to 11 hours sleep on a night.