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Good Sleep: Basic need of our Child

Articles on need of enough sleep for children to maintain good physical and mental health are coming up regularly. But our inclination is to read, think for a while and forget and get back to the routine chores. Also schools are not obliged to follow the recommendations of so many studies. Are we leading our kids on healthy path? Don’t have time even to think and correct if possible!!

Many schools are running in 2 shifts and the first shift starts early. Also the long duration of travel needed by students to reach school compel them to rise early. The school buses start at least 1 to 1 and half hour prior to school time. Heavy traffic is one of added factor to rise before time. Moreover even afternoon time of our kids is scheduled with all parallel schooling activities (tuitions) and extracurricular activities. In this was the kids are busy all round the day. Working parents make the life of kids more difficult as they get only evening and night time to spend with their children and so children like to be awake till late nights with parents. Thus the vicious cycle goes on and unknowingly we set in chronic sleep deprivation for our kids.

It’s high time we need to find out if our kids are sleep deprived and if yes then set in alarm to take corrective measures at all levels. The sleeping hours recommended age wise is approximately as follows. We have to monitor the duration of sleeps of our little ones.

Age wise sleep ranges suggested by US-National Sleep Foundation

0-3 months

14 to 17 hours a day

4-11 months

12 to 15 hours

1-2 years

11 to 14 hours

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

10 to 13 hours

School age kids (6-13 years)

9 to 11 years

Teenagers (14-17 years)

8 to 10 hours

Younger adults (18-25years)

7 to 9 hours

Adults (26 - 64 years)

7 to 9 hours

Older adults (64+)

7 to 8 hours

How do we detect if our child is sleep deprived? Sleep deprived adults get sleepy, but kids “tend to be more hyper, inattentive, irritated and annoyed.”Watch and notice if your child has any of the following symptoms

· Moodiness and irritability

· Temper tantrums

· Tendency to emotionally explode at slightest provocation

· Over activity and hyperactive behaviour

· Daytime naps

· Reluctance to get out of bed in morning

Sleep deprivation affects every aspect of the child’s life, from friends and family relationships to school performance to their daily behavior.The chronic sleep deprivation further leads to physical and mental development delay. Studies have shown that sleep deprived children have more difficulty focusing and staying on task. However, they may also have more impulsive or defiant behavior. Lack of sleep affects your child’s school performance wherein in theclass, they can have trouble paying attention because of their difficulty focusing. They can miss important verbal lessons due to less concentration or they may be unable to complete tasks in the classroom. Also the children have their memories best during sleep. Children who sleep well at night will remember the previous day’s lessons better than children who are sleep deprived.

So we need to assure that for good health and proper milestone we need to give our kids the basic feature of good and sound sleep as per their age. Ways to correct this sleep deprivation phase can be worked out like -----

· Create a bedtime routine.

· Keep a consistent sleep schedule.

· Stick with the schedule at all maximum time.

· Get everyone (all family members) involved in the routine sleep time and habits.

· Teach your kids to self-soothe means inculcate the habits of sleeping with least assistance or on their own.

· Give them a transitional object by giving them some soft toy or a blanket that will comfort them.

· Bedtime should be relaxed by keeping electronic gadgets like TV/Mobiles/Music system shut down during bed time.

· Try to avoid the schools where your child has to travel for long duration to reach school due to which the child has to arise early.

· Avoid the situations where your child is engaged full day in various activities.

· Concentrate more on physical activities and outdoor games for the kids which will keep the child active and exert to a level to fall asleep on his own.

So let’s realize the importance of good sleep for our kids and find solutions to this basic need to for our children. Be patient as this may take few weeks of tweaking your schedule to figure out what works and then it may take some time for our child to adjust to the new routine. But don’t give up. Rest assured that once you master your child’s sleep you’ll be rewarded with much happier and healthier child.



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