Developing a healthy sleep schedule for your kids
August 8, 2017
Written By Tara Edick, Physician Assistant
Brought to you by St. Anthony Summit Medical Center
The end of summer break is right around the corner. As you prepare to head back to school this fall, it is important to pay attention to your child's sleep schedule.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that any school-age child receive between nine to 11 hours of sleep each night. But it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all number to how much sleep your child needs each night. Some kids might need more than 11 hours, however, kids rarely do well with less than nine.
Watching your child’s behavior is a great way to recognize if he or she is getting the correct amount of sleep. If your child is acting sleepy or cranky during the day, is hard to get out of bed in the morning or has trouble focusing on schoolwork and other tasks, you should consider adjusting your child’s sleep schedule.
Here are some tips to help your child ease back into a new sleep schedule and help make sure that he or she does not start the school year on the wrong side of the bed:
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- Gradually re-establish a school sleep schedule – incrementally enforce a bedtime and wake your child up when you would need to during the school year, prior to the first week of school.
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine – before bedtime, start a “quiet time” to allow your child to unwind. The routine should include relaxing activities, such as a bath and a bed-time story or a reading time.
- Avoid big meals close to bedtime– a late meal could prevent your child from falling asleep.
- Avoid caffeine – sodas and other caffeinated drinks should be limited after noon.
- Be a role model – set a good example for your child. Establish your own regular sleep schedule which promotes healthy sleep habits.
A child not getting the right amount of sleep is at higher risk for health concerns such as obesity and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), so it's not something to be taken lightly.
If you ever have a concern about your child's sleep patterns, talk to your doctor. Scheduling a yearly checkup with your primary care provider is a great time to discuss sleep issues, as well as any other concerns you are having about your child.
Tara Edick, PA is a board-certified physician assistant at High Country Healthcare in Frisco, part of Centura Health. She specializes in treating patients of all ages, from kids to older adults. Tara is now welcoming new patients at CHPG High Country Healthcare – Frisco, located in the medical office building next to Summit Medical Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 970-668-5584.