and How Sleep Helps Your Child Develop
It’s that time of the year again, kids are back in school, life is back to normal, and moms can rest a little easier. Or so we would think. The back to school season is also the time of year when the “Get to sleep” and “Can we move my bedtime” battle begins. I am writing this article to help you and remind you of the importance of not backing down on the enforced 8 to 9 hours of sleep for your kids. There is plenty of reason to stick to your guns and not give in to the constant whining about why bedtime is so early and how their friends don’t go to bed till 11, (Trust me I have heard them all myself).
Your very best reason for sticking to at very least 8 hours of sleep is your child’s ability to sit still, listen, and learn from the teacher.
A child’s brain is different from ours. When we get tired, we slow down and want to rest more, a child gets tired, and their body/mind connection struggles to slow down. Your child’s brain goes into overtime and starts pushing the body to run, yell, not stop moving. Generally, this condition can seem like hyperactivity, but in all actuality, it is desperate tiredness. That’s why when you get them to lay down, finally, the instant their head hits the pillow, they are out like a light.
The same inability to sit still causes grades to drop, unsatisfactory scores to appear in the “pays attention” or “can sit still and listen” columns of the report card. Grades suffer more than we realize with the lack of good sleep.
Stability and Self-Discipline
A second reason to stick to a daily bedtime is that with repetition comes stability. A child’s mental, emotional, and physical development needs stability to form correctly. Teaching the self-discipline of a daily bedtime helps them develop that skill of being able to set standards they need to stick to. Stable environments help a lot in your child’s later years.
Teens are seen as lazy by many because of their inability to stay awake most mornings. Truth be told it is not their fault. Their bodies are producing Melatonin, a hormone used by our bodies to regulate sleep and wake times, at a different time than an adult body would. They are Night Owls in every sense of the word during this time of their lives. In many school districts, this has been recognized and start times for school have been adapted to later hours to help teens during their high school years.
That is not to say that teens should get off the hook of sticking to sleep hours. Teens still need the 8-9 hours that younger children need as well. The teen brain is still not a thoroughly developed organ. The need to sleep is always so critical during these years.
Recommended Sleep Duration
We’ve shared the chart below a few times in the past, and we do it because it’s so imperative to recognize the sleep needs of kids throughout their development. Please check and see where your child falls and hopefully see that you’ve been doing a great job of reinforcing sleep needs or recognize that you have some work to do on getting your child a little more sleep. Either way, keep your wits about you during the bedtime battle and know you’re doing the right thing for your child!