You know how important a good night’s sleep is. During sleep is when the brain recharges and refuels. According to the Sleep Foundation, preschoolers between ages three and five years need about 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night. Kids from six to 13 years still need nine to 11 hours. But kids don’t always understand why sleep is so important. Instead of just telling your kids that it’s time for bed, spend a little time teaching them about all that happens while they’re sleeping. Here are three points to explain:
Once you’ve helped your kids understand why sleep is so important, here are some tips for helping your kids get to sleep and stay asleep:
Have a bedtime routine. A bedtime snack, bathroom time, getting into their PJs, reading a story – just going through the same routine each night before they lie down will help their bodies understand that it is time for sleep. A bedtime routine is also a good way to give little bodies time to wind down instead of going straight from playtime to bedtime.
Stick with your routine – even in summer. It can be tempting to forego the routine when the kids are out of school, but they’ll be much better off if you continue it. You might allow them to stay up a little longer – but remember that they still need the same amount of sleep.
Help them overcome fear and anxiety. Unfortunately, the time when they should be winding down and relaxing can be a time of fear and anxiety for some kids. Whether it’s because they are worried about the monster under the bed or the spelling test at school, bedtime seems to be prime worry time. Talk to your child about their fears, but be careful how you respond. Chasing away the monster means you believe in it too! Reassure your child that you are there and that you will be checking on them.
Our bodies have a lot of work to do while we sleep. Helping kids understand what is happening while they are sleeping can help make bedtime transitions go more smoothly, so they’ll wake up refueled and ready for another day of fun and learning!