Sleep Hygiene for Kids: Encouraging Healthy Habits

Children need sleep. This is an immutable fact that’s been discovered by many parents and one that Park (2009) stresses must be applied. In order to obtain the necessary amount of sleep to function, a child must be taught to acclimate to a set bedtime, and a set time to wake up in the morning. In this article, parents will learn how to promote sleep hygiene for kids by enforcing bedtimes and wake up times.

 

Problems arising from poor sleep hygiene can include:

 

1) Exhaustion

Without the proper amount of rest, a child will not have enough energy to remain active throughout the day.

 

2) Poor attitude

Many people cannot function properly without adequate rest. This can affect the way that kids interact with others. Being tired can cause anger, irritation, frustration, and fatigue that contributes to poor social interaction.

 

3) Poor health

Lack of sleep can decrease the amount of time given to the body to repair itself, digest the food that’s been consumed the night before, and to perform several other needed functions.

 

4) Reduced cognitive functions

Kids are always growing in one way or another. A lack of proper rest affects the brain most of all. Cognitive functions are eventually sacrificed to enable the survival instincts that come during times of great exhaustion.

 

Promoting sleep hygiene for kids by enforcing bedtimes and wake up times

 

Different households all have different methods. The overall desire is that the child, or children, are tucked into bed at a certain time and are woken up at a designated time. Allowing for enough rest is tricky as children will not always go right to sleep. But enforcing a bedtime will, at the very least, begin to develop the idea that they are expected to go to bed at some point. When children wake up is typically up to them, unless they are deep sleepers that must be woken up in the morning.

 

School age children need to be given a strict time that they must be up in order to get ready and be out the door. With younger children it is not as important to wake them at a certain time, as throughout their younger years children can often need more sleep than usual.

 

There are many ways to go about creating and enforcing a bedtime, and a time to wake up. A few of those are listed below:

 

1) No caffeine after a designated time.

Caffeine can keep kids awake and make it very difficult for them to fall asleep. Any time after noon you should keep their caffeine intake to a bare minimum.

 

2) Remove all electronics and games from their room.

Anything that could be too distracting and help a child stay awake should be put away as a preparation for bedtime.

 

3) Keep their room comforting and inviting.

This generally means making the effort to keep the temperature at a reasonable level, make sure their room is picked up and free of mess, and that their blankets and linens are cleaned regularly. Anything to make them comfortable will help them to sleep better.

 

4) Keep an alarm clock in your room.

Eventually it will be necessary to keep the clock in their room, but until they are ready for it keep the alarm in your room so you’ll know when they need to be awake.

 

5) Don’t give in.

If they want to sleep in don’t allow it. During the summer months it might be allowable but during school days it is important to establish a set time to wake up so that your kids will eventually learn when to wake up on their own.

 

6) Be a good role model.

Your children will watch what you do and attempt to copy you. Be sure you practice good habits by setting a reasonable time for bed and can wake up in the morning.

 

These are just a few recommendations as to how you should go about establishing a bed and wake time for your child. The biggest lesson of all is to stay consistent. If you falter then get back on a schedule and keep going. Eventually your kids will start to acclimate to the schedule you set.

 

Works Cited

Park, Madison. “Enforcing bedtimes increases kids’ health.” CNN. 14 Sept. 2009. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.

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