Health Tips: Children and Sleep

Children and Sleep

By Paula Thomas

The other day I had lunch with a friend and she said that when her kids were little her husband used to say that they were getting too much sleep. She would put them to bed early so that she could spend time with him. So often now I see kids up so late.

Once Dave and I were on vacation we had to stop at a Walmart at 1am. I was amazed at seeing little kids ages 2 and 3 up shopping with their parents. I remember when my kids were small they were in bed by 7pm so I could rest and have time for myself.

Sleep is important for everyone.

So how do we teach our kids to listen and go to bed without giving us a hassle.

Well you start when they are newborns.

They usually sleep anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day. Although it is very irregular for a while.

  • Observe their sleep patterns and identify signs of sleepiness.

  • Put them in the crib when drowsy, not asleep.

  • Let them sleep on their back with head and face clear of blankets and other soft items.

  • Encourage nighttime sleep.

When infants are put to bed drowsy, they will most likely become “self-soothers” which let them fall asleep by themselves and will put themselves back to sleep during the night.

If they become accustom to their parents helping them go to sleep they will cry for their parents during the night.

  • Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules.

  • Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine.

  • Establish a regular sleep friendly environment.

  • Encourage infant to fall asleep independently.

Toddlers will need about 11-14 hours of sleep a day. When they reach the age of 18 months their naptimes will decrease to a once a day nap lasting from one to three hours. One thing to remember is that your toddler will resist going to bed and might wake up during the night.

  • Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine.

  • Make the bedroom environment the same every night and throughout the night.

  • Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced. Encourage us of a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal.

Preschoolers usually sleep around 11-13 hours each night and most likely will not nap after the age of 5. They may also have difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night. They may also experience nighttime fears due to their development of their imagination.

  • Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.

  • They should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark. With Absolutely NO TV

School age children age 6 to 13 need at least 9-11 hours of sleep each night. Watching tv close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep and anxiety which results in fewer hours of sleep. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as ADHD and other cognitive problems that can impact their ability to learn in school.

  • Teach them about healthy sleep habits.

  • Continue to emphasize the need for a regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.

  • Make sure the bedroom is dark, cool and quiet.

  • Absolutely NO TV or COMPUTERS in the bedroom.

  • Avoid caffeine.

Making sure that kids get enough sleep is so important. Not only for them put parents also. Remember parents need a break and some alone time. So it is important to start the sleeping habits as infants.

However, if you didn’t do that it’s ok. It is never too late to start a new routine. Just remember it will take a while to get it enforced.

Meet the Author

Paula enjoys watching her grandchildren during the week. She loves the freedom she has to stay home and do that. To supplement her income, she became an Arbonne Consultant.

She has always loved using the Arbonne products. They are consistent and have superior, botanically based products. The excellent skin care products give her skin a softness and glow each and every day.

Connect with Paula at her website.

You can read Paula's column on the 3rd Monday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.

#HealthySleep #HealthyLiving #HealthyKids