Friday, December 15, 2017

Good Sleep Habits for Kids are Advantageous to Health

April 1, 2007 by  
Filed under Child Health, Parenting

The importance of good sleep habits for kids is an essential factor for good health, proper growth and overall well-being. Just like adults, children need plenty of sleep every night in order to function more effectively throughout the day; enough hours of sleep keep them more alert, gives children the ability to concentrate better, gives them sharper memory and makes them perform better compared to those who don’t get enough sleep. Moreover, children who get enough sleep (nine hours or more daily) are less likely to develop behavioral problems such as moodiness, anxiety or depression.

Although each child’s sleep requirements vary, generally school age children require between nine to twelve hours of sleep every night. It is easy to determine if your child gets enough sleep, simply observe the following: if your child falls asleep within fifteen minutes to half an hour of going to bed; if your child easily wakes up in the morning; if your child is wide awake, active and alert throughout the day then the amount of nighttime sleep is adequate. As parents, it is very important to make clear to your child why enough sleep every night is necessary. Adequate sleep is healthy and necessary for better performance in school and extracurricular activities.

In order to develop good sleep habits for children, it may be necessary to introduce and follow a pre-sleep routine before bedtime to condition your child’s mind that sleep time is getting near. A good routine may start off with a shower, brushing of teeth, getting into pajamas, reading a bedtime story and followed by a bed tuck, good night and lights out. Since some children are afraid of the dark, it may be best to have a nightlight installed so that they don’t sleep in complete darkness. Make sure your children religiously follow their bedtime routine; soon enough, they will be conditioned to go to bed on their own when they regularly perform their pre-sleep rituals.

Never put a television or computer console in your child’s bedroom as this would negate the benefits of getting enough sleep. Always make sure that there is a specific time within which your children need to prepare for bed (especially on school days) so that they get adequate rest and re-energizing from deep sleep. Avoid stimulating your child’s sensory perceptions at least one hour before bedtime so that they are well prepared for sleep.

There are some children who suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, teeth grinding (bruxism), bed wetting (enuresis) and nocturnal asthma including nightmares which most children experience. If such is the case, it may be necessary to visit the family doctor in order to diagnose the situation and decide on a corrective course of action if necessary. Stress due to peer pressure, academic or athletic performance or any other mundane concern can cause sleepless nights for children – one way of avoiding this is to encourage your children to talk and communicate with you about any worries they may have in order to help them cope easily.

Make your child’s sleep experience as enjoyable and positive as can be, do not baby your child to sleep. Teach your child independence by letting him sleep on his own and that nothing bad is going to happen. It is best for the child to learn how to sleep on his own rather than having the parents stay by their side until they fall asleep. This only develops unnatural dependencies which can carry on well into adulthood.

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