A healthy sleep is one of the most fundamental activities that aides a child’s development at any age; it is the time their body recovers from the physical activities of the day; it helps relieve mental stresses whilst also giving yourself some hours peace and quiet.
With new games and TV shows each night it is easy to give in to their badgering and simply give an extension to their bedtime, but that isn’t always the best idea when you’re trying to set strict routines and healthy habits.
How sleeping helps your child?
- Sometimes it looks like your child has grown overnight and they do. Growth hormones are released at this time making it all the more important to encourage a healthy, uninterrupted sleep.
- When your child has been busy chasing after friends, kicking a footy around or climbing trees, sleeping allows your body to repair its muscles ready for another day of hide and go seek.
- A healthy long sleep helps your child beat a cold, germs and bacteria and maintain a healthy weight.
- Enjoy more focus and learning at childcare or at home, when their minds have been rested they are more ready to process and remember information that will serve to be a foundation for the rest of their lives.
How much sleep should Children get?
Each child has their own needs and lifestyles, Health Direct Australia, an Australian government owned not-for-profit recommends:
- Ages 3 – 5: 10 to 13 hours
- Ages 6 – 13: 9 to 11 hours
- Ages 14 – 17: 8 to 10 hours
How to create healthy sleeping patterns?
- Introduce structure that follows the same process each night at the same time i.e. shower/bath, brush teeth, dress in pajamas and read a short story in bed.
- A healthy sleep needs to become a habit by enforcing a strict bedtime that isn’t negotiable.
- Disconnect for the day and limit excitable activities, TV and computer use an hour before sleep. Promote relaxing music or reading during this time.
- Create an environment conducive to sleep with a quiet and dark room (if needed a small nightlight can be used), provide adequate manchester and try to keep the home quiet when there are others awake and busy in the house.
- Discourage events where children want to sleep in the same room as mum and dad too frequently. Not only ask them to return to their own bed, walk them.