There is seemingly no end to the number of articles that are written on the subject of sleep and how much is enough for school-aged children. There also seems to be no lack of opinions on the subject either. So, as a parent how can I decide on what is right?
Even though there may be no specifics that can be given for each individual child, there are still guidelines that we as parents can follow. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in an article published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine:
- Children 6-12 need 9-12 hours
- Children 13-18 need 8-10 hours.
You will notice that these are pretty wide ranges and sometimes it is difficult to know what your child really needs. Some of the clues you may look for are whether your child is sluggish when they get home from school. Do they just want to sit around after supper? You can also check with their teachers who will know if they are attentive and on task through-out the day.
What are the benefits of the proper amount of sleep? Researchers have determined that among the benefits are included: better behavior, longer attention span, better learning habits, increased memory, better regulated emotions, and an overall better quality of life.
Children who lack the amount of sleep necessary are more prone to injury, tend to be more tense, are subject to physical problems such as diabetes and obesity, and can be future candidates for depression. With all these problems potentially looming, how can you insure that your child is getting the proper amount of sleep?
Although difficult at times the answer lies in habits. The more you are able to establish routines the easier it will become. First of all, establish a regular bedtime that will allow for the proper amount of sleep. Secondly, don’t make going to bed something that is rushed. There should be a relaxing time prior to going to bed. This would be a great time to have a family devotion. What better way to prepare for a good nights sleep than gathering around God’s Word? During that final 30 minutes or so before going to sleep remove screens of all kinds (TV, phone, computer, tablet, etc.). Finally, remove all these screens from the sleep area so your child is not tempted to use them and reduce their sleep time.
Although it may be difficult at first, if everyone works together you can make it work. The result is you will see a much happier child who will learn and play at a higher level.
“It’s just been crazy around here the last couple of weeks. It seems like I never have even just a few minutes to relax.”
Does that sound like it could be you speaking about the happenings at your house? As we get closer to the end of summer and the school year beginning things seem to get hectic. There are school supplies to purchase, transportation schedules to get straight, drop off and pick-up at various practices and just when you think you have it together the car needs service or worse yet it breaks down altogether and throws everything into turmoil.
This was the summer we were going to do all those things with the family and now here it is time for school to start and even our best laid plans have evaporated, and all that time we were going to have together is gone. Where did it go? When we step back and look, outside of the time we needed to put in at work maybe we committed too much time to our social media, Facebook and other digital connections we didn’t think we could live without. Maybe we scheduled too many outings with friends, i.e. nights out with the girls or guys; movie night by our self just because we needed to get away.
We schedule our self so tight that we never seem to have time for family. So how do we rectify that situation and have the time with our family that we know we need but never seem to have time for in our busy schedule? There’s the answer, we schedule. Just like all those other “important” things in our lives if we truly feel that family time is important, and who doesn’t, then it must be part of our regular schedule.
Not only does scheduling family time insure that we will have that time together, it also affords us the opportunity to listen to the joys and heartaches of those closest to us. During this scheduled time, what better to participate in a daily family devotion, growing together in your faith and the love of your Savior.
Be intentional in your family and experience the benefits of life with those whom God has placed closest to you.