It’s almost summer time, school is soon out of session, and your child will gain a lot of extra free time. This is a cycle parents will go through for a number of years, so it’s important to make the most of that time for both you and your child. While being active during the day can certainly help children, having a sufficient amount of sleep each night is equally as important. Is your child getting enough sleep?
How Much Sleep Should My Child be Getting?
This is one of the most common questions parents ask, and the answer depends on the age and stage of development of the child. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released general guidelines that parents can follow to ensure that their child is not over or under sleeping.
|Age||Hours of Sleep (Including Naps)|
|Infants: 4 to 12 months||12 to 16|
|Toddlers: 1 to 2 years||11 to 14|
|Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years||10 to 13|
|Gradeschoolers: 6 to 12 years||9 to 12|
|Teens: 13 to 18 years||8 to 10|
A child that isn’t getting enough sleep can quickly become irritable, moody and unfocused. These issues can lead to behavioral problems, which may lead to you getting less sleep as well! These tips can help for a better summer for you and your child:
Keep a Standard Bed Time
Even though there is no school to wake up for in the morning, a standard bedtime should still be maintained. When a child doesn’t have a schedule or routine that they stick to, their sleeping patterns can become erratic. For the sake of fun, their bed time doesn’t have to be as strict as during the school year. Consider extending bed time an hour or an hour and a half past their normal school year bedtime, but not much more.
Give Them a Full Day of Activity
If your children are a bit older, you may go to work every day and leave them at home. Many children may be bored, causing them to lounge around and spend too much time on their phones or in front of the TV. Give them something to do, such as attending a summer camp, playing a sport in a local league. Just be sure that whatever they do, they’re up and active.
If they’re getting exercise and they’re engaged for several hours during the day, they will be tired and will want to get some rest at night. This all leads to an earlier, more consistent bedtime.
Limit Summer Screen Time
More free time often results in more screen time. Studies have shown that children who watch TV or are on their phone at least an hour before bed time have more trouble falling asleep than children who don’t. To ensure they’re not sneakily watching movies or TV when you think they’re sleeping, make a rule that all devices are to be outside of their room when they go to bed.
Watch What They Eat & Drink
During the summer, kids tend to have more access to sugary drinks and desserts as your family hosts get-togethers or barbecues. Keep an eye on what they eat and drink in the few hours leading up to their bed time. Soda and sweet treats can cause them to become overly energized and stay up well past their given bedtime.
Talk With Your Pediatrician
If you have any questions about your child’s sleeping habits or if you’d like to make an appointment, contact your pediatrician at Pentucket Medical Associates at (888) 227-3762.