We all love summer!
Yes, it’s a fun time to “slide” away from academics, but don’t let your sleep slide! It is easy to get off schedule during the summer when out of the school routine. We think of summer as a time to catch up on sleep, but kids can experience a sleep debt that makes them grumpy. Then, you’ll wish for school to return!
So what can a parent do?
1. Remember sleep needs. Preschoolers need 11-13 hours of sleep per night, school age kids need 10-12 hours, and teens need about 9 hours. Sleep is critical for good health, mood, behavior, and learning.
2. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule. Kids with a variable bedtime tend to have more mood and behavioral issues. Not a good combo on a family vacation together.
- Keep bedtime within an hour of school schedule. Their “clock” is pretty set. If staying up later they’ll still awaken around the same time. Its hard for them to want to go to bed when the sun is up, but they’ll be happier and have more fun with a good night’s sleep!
- Keep nap schedule the same. Cutting out a nap causes sleep deprivation and doesn’t help them fall asleep at night. It just makes for a miserable afternoon and evening! They’ll just get so tired they get “wired!”
Teens: What about teens?
- Awaken by 9-10am. Teens naturally want to go to bed later and wake up later. While extra sleep is good, sleeping the day away leads to a shift in the sleep schedule.
- Sleeping in is ok as long as they’re getting the amount of sleep needed.
- Schedule activities in the morning. This will avoid sleeping in too late and help the transition to school later.
3. Get prepared for that dreaded return to school…slowly!
- About 2 weeks before school begins, put them to bed 15 minutes earlier each night. Kids need a few weeks to adjust to the school schedule and reset their internal “clock.”
Remember that sleep is a critical part of a child’s health and well being. Help your child have the best summer vacation by helping them get enough sleep!