With so many schools starting today – or having recently started – it’s a good time for a reminder of the importance of sleep among children. In a recent blog post and the video above, Seattle Mama Doc (a.k.a. Wendy Sue Swanson, MD), offers guidance on how much sleep a child needs and offers five ways that parents can support good sleep:
- Keep to an 8pm bedtime for young children. Move bedtime back slowly (move it by 30 minutes every 3-5 days) to prime your child for success and avoid battles!
- 10pm bedtime for children age 12 & up is age-appropriate. More info here.
- Habits: No screens 1-2 hours prior to bed, no caffeine after school, no food right before bed.
- Exercise or move 30-60 minutes a day to help kids sleep easier
- No sleeping with cell phones (create a docking station in the kitchen)
- Don’t use OTC medications (cough & cold, for example) to knock your kids out and get them to sleep. Using medications that have a side effect of drowsiness can cause sleepiness to extend into daytime which can negatively affect school and sports performance.
Previously: Study shows poor sleep habits as a teenager can “stack the deck against you for obesity later in life”, Stanford expert: Students shouldn’t sacrifice sleep, TV in a child’s bedroom? “No way,” says expert and Districts pushing back bells for the sake of teens’ sleep