Sleep not only recharges your child’s body and mind, but a well-rested child is much easier to handle than a cranky, tired one. Getting enough shut-eye each night is especially important for your growing child during the school year. With all of the daily demands that you child experiences at school and home, getting her to bed at the appropriate time each night can help keep her going throughout the day.
Getting Enough Zs
Your child’s bedtime is partially decided on how much sleep she needs. School-aged kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night and teens need around 8.5 to 9.5 hours daily, according to Kids Health. Not getting enough sleep can cause decreased attentiveness, lower performance, slower response times and decreased short-term memory, not to mention the irritability and grumpiness that comes with insufficient sleep.
According to the Clock
The actual bedtime you use is ultimately up to you. To figure out what works best for you and your kiddo, consider what time school starts. If it starts at 9 a.m., figure in how much time you comfortably need to get her up, dressed, fed, teeth brushed and out the door, plus travel time, if you’re driving. If you can ready within an hour, her wake-up time can be at 8 a.m. Therefore, her bedtime should be between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Prepping for Night-Night
A consistent bedtime routine can help prep your child for sleep and hopefully make bedtime less of a hassle. Try to stick to a fairly regular schedule, especially on weekday evenings during the school year. Encourage the kids to participate in quiet or low-key activities at least an hour or two before bedtime. This means turning the TV off and reading books, playing cards or putting together a puzzle. Give him a one-hour warning and then another 10-minute warning before it’s bedtime. Then he isn’t surprised when the time rolls around. By the time his bedtime arrives, he should be washed up, in his jammies with his teeth brushed and his room picked up.
Lights Out, Period
Once her bedtime has arrived, have her climb into bed and turn off the lights. No television watching in bed, no listening to loud music and no complaints -- lights out. If your kiddo needs a nightlight, that’s fine. The best environment for him to sleep soundly is dark, quiet and at a cool temperature. If your child refuses to follow the bedtime rules, enforce a consequence, like losing television privileges for the next day.
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