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How to Help Your Child Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Bedtime. It can be a challenge for parents. Distractions like video games, TV shows, text messages and overly busy evening schedules can have a child pleading to stay up a little longer. But adequate sleep is as important as food, drink and safety for every child’s health. A beneficial night’s sleep:

  • Promotes healthy development.
  • Helps maintain healthy weight.
  • Boosts natural immunities.
  • Recharges the brain’s battery.

How Much Sleep is Enough?

Each child is different, but here are some general sleep guidelines for school-age youngsters:

  • 3 – 6 years — 10 – 12 hrs a day (includes a nap for younger kids).
  • 7 – 12 years — 10 – 11 hrs each night.
  • 12 – 18 years — 8 – 9 hrs each night.

Children who don’t get enough sleep are susceptible to:

  • More colds and flu.
  • Depression.
  • Behavior problems — such as being less attentive, impulsive or whiney.

Missing just sixty minutes of sleep can result in memory and concentration problems.

Tips For a Blissful Bedtime

Children and adults function better when both bedtime and wakeup times are consistent. Studies reveal catching up on sleep on the weekends doesn’t truly foster optimal health.

To help your child get a good night’s sleep:

  • Skip TV shows that may cause your child to be afraid or sleepless at night. Do not allow TVs in your child’s bedroom or use it for the child to fall asleep to.
  • Restrict caffeine and high sugar foods in the hours before bedtime.
  • Gather all electronic devices (tablets, laptops, smartphones) before bedtime. Screen time has been proven to decrease the natural melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is what helps you sleep.
  • Ask your child about worries or fears that may keep her or him awake at night.
  • Follow a predictable routine at night and in the morning, and set a consistent wakeup and bedtime every day.

Medical problems such as asthma, allergies or sleep apnea may affect your child’s sleep. Visit with your health care provider if your child has unexplained sleeplessness or you feel your child has a medical reason for sleep problems.

Meet the Author

Diane Gerlach, DO is a Pediatrician at Aurora Health Center in Kenosha, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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