Are your children getting enough sleep?

You wouldn’t be surprised if your camera didn’t switch on because you’d forgotten to recharge its batteries would you? So why is it that many parents fail to realise how important it is for their children to sleep? It may sound like a far fetched metaphor but we all know sleeps main function is to recharge, it is restorative, nourishing and above all crucial for mental development.

Children who are overtired because of lack of sleep may show cognitive problems with attending to information, concentration and focus. In the classroom, this can lead to a lack of motivation or disobedient behaviour and so has a negative impact on learning.

Not sending our children to bed at a reasonable time could result in behavioural problems such as little control over their impulses (causing them to be tetchy and irritable) impaired communication and lack of social skills and can even result in longer term difficulties or psychological issues such as anxiety or depression.

It may seem like a lot but ten hours a night is the minimum a four year old should be getting per night. Another misconception surrounds the subject of over tiredness being mixed up with being energetic. Letting a child stay up in hope it will tire them out will not work, instead it pumps up adrenaline levels and makes it impossible for them to settle let alone sleep.

A good tip for a restful night is to not let your children have distractions at nights. Most children now will have a games console, a cd player, a computer and or a T.V at the very minimum. There is too many things which attract their attention. Lay down some clear rules about not being able to use this sort of equipment at night times.
Pattern and routine will also help. As any troubled sleeper knows it is important to get yourself into a routine and the same applies for children. Feed them at the same time each night and keep bedtime and wake up time consistent. That way your child’s natural body clock will eventually adapt to this.

Don’t forget that a healthy sleep pattern is just as imperative to a child’s development as eating healthy and exercise.

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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