Without the daily structure of school, it’s common for kids to stay up later and not sleep long enough to make up for it.
After a while, the lack of sleep can begin to affect their mood, health and ability to learn. It may seem nice to allow your child to wake up later during the summer, but try to stick to the same bedtime routine they have throughout the rest of the year. This will cause their bodies to become accustomed to a sleep schedule. If they wake up later than normal a few times a week, they can become groggy and jet-lag like, making it hard for their bodies to feel tired at its normal bedtime.
Even though bedtimes tend to be later in the summer, as parents, try to still keep them as consistent as possible. For instance, if your child has an 8 p.m. bedtime during the school year, allow them to stay up until 9 p.m. during the summer. The consistence of timing is powerful because the internal clock works best under routine.
Studies have shown that elementary-aged children that have a regular bedtime performed better in math, spatial stills and reading. On the other hand, kids whose bedtimes were inconsistent, were more likely to have behavior and mood issues.
To help guide your child back to a regular sleep schedule at the beginning of the school year, it’s important to start changing sleep patterns at least 10-14 days before school. Start by incorporating the earlier bedtime slowly, by putting 15-20 minutes each night toward bedtime with a familiar routine. Additionally, keep regular bedtime and wake-up times on weekends. Without the proper amount of sleep, kids have difficulty focusing and more emotional sensitivity, which can lead to more problems down the road. Sleep guidelines recommend that preschool-age students get 10-13 hours of sleep each night, school age children 9-11 hours and adolescents 8-10 hours.
Follow these tips to help your child get the sleep their body needs. In return, you’ll sleep better, too!
Article originally written and published by: Mankato Clinic