At WCS, we regularly get healthy living updates from our Public Health Nurse. This month’s focus is on sleep habits for children. Sleep is essential for everyone, especially for children who are actively growing. When we sleep, the body has time to repair itself from the wear and tear of daily living. Getting good quality sleep each day is important for children because it helps improve their:
● attention, learning and memory
● mental and physical health
● overall well-being
● growth and development
Sleep needs differ for different ages and for different kids. Pay attention to what works best for your child. General recommendations for kids based on their age are:
● Preschoolers (3-4 years) need 10-13 hours of good quality sleep with consistent bedtimes and wake up times. This might include a nap.
● Elementary school kids (5-13 years) need 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep with consistent bedtimes and wake up times.
● Teens (14-17) need 8-10 hours
Telltale signs indicating lack of sleep include, complaining of being tired, irritability, increased forgetfulness, difficulty learning, and lack of interest in what is happening around them. Here are some tips for bedtime routines that can help with sleep:
● Set a specific bedtime.
● No screen time one hour before bedtime.
● Avoid heavy meals and energetic play prior to bedtime.
● Routines like the three B's - bath, brush and book - are great for kids.
● Bedroom should be quiet, cool and comfortable for sleeping.
● Make use of night lights.
● Set a specific wake up time.
For more information on sleep habits, plans, and needs, see sleepfoundation.org.