Children need their sleep but just how important is it to your child’s development and how much sleep should they be getting?
Children need their sleep but just how important is it to your child’s development and how much should they be getting? Here at Family Friendly HQ, we are aware of the need for sleep and the battles parents have with kids to ensure they get enough, but it can be tough. To help you understand exactly what your little one needs, have a read below.
We know that children of any age need more sleep than adults as they are growing at a rapid rate and this supports their mental and physical development. Sleep is vitally important for kids and even if youngsters lose 30 minutes to an hour of sleep a night it can have a negative effect on their health.
Parents are more than aware of how an overtired child acts and how they become moody, excessively hyper or belligerent. It isn’t something parents need when they are busy so getting your child to sleep is a huge but important battle.
Firstly, every child needs a regular bedtime and while having the odd “late night” may not do any harm it is vital that parents train their kids from a young age to have good sleep habits. This begins when parents bring their babies home from the hospital; yes, many babies don’t sleep, and it can take years for some kids to sleep well, but as long as you stick to a routine it will help in the long term.
If your child is in school, they need a super strict routine of bedtime and encouragement to sleep well. This means no televisions in the bedrooms and having wind down time prior to sleep time. Usually reading a book or listening to some relaxing music helps set kids off to sleep. For other kids, they may need a special blanket, hug, teddy or a soothing bath.
Whatever works best for you and your children! Bedtime is between 7-8pm for young children and into tween-age too. There are some exceptions though and as you know your child best it is a good idea to evaluate their sleeping habits and what works well or what doesn’t.
As a rough guide, it is advised that a toddler gets around 11 – 14 hours of sleep per night but there are instances where children of that age can manage on a lot less. However, it is advised that less than 9 hours sleep is not good for a tot.
Once your tot hits playschool they will need 10 – 13 hours per night but not less than 8 – 9 hours. Don’t forget your little one is learning and needs plenty of sleep.
It is notoriously known that once a kiddie starts school, they will be exhausted and quite happy to go to bed as school is tiring. School-aged kids need at least 9 – 11 hours per night with no less than 8 hours.
Teenagers are another issue altogether as they get less sleep but usually because they are using devices in bed and not getting rest prior to sleeping.
The best advice is to follow your child’s lead but also pay attention to their behaviour. If they can’t get out of bed in the mornings perhaps, send them to bed earlier. Or if they are irritable in the evening change your routine. It is worth a shot as once you get their sleep right it means a happier and healthier life you all the family.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.