BY Ritu Shah
26 Sep 2022
Adequate sleep is essential for the growth and development of your kids. Sleep not only gives the body a break from physical activities but also rests the brain from active mental use. It is vital as parents for you to understand the sleep needs of your kids.
Why Is Sleep Important For Kids?
Just like being active, resting is equally necessary for the development of the mind and body for the kids. For infants and toddlers, sleep helps in memory consolidation, motor skills, attention skills, and growth. It is essential for school-going kids as well. Sleep impacts many behavioral and developmental aspects. Some of them include:
Not getting enough sleep can impair the growth and daily functioning of kids. It has been found that kids that do not get ample rest and sleep can become grumpy and swing to be hyperactive. It affects their ability to pay attention in class, and sports, and can have a long-term impact on mental health. Lack of proper sleep also compromises their immunity. There have been studies that show that inadequate sleep during childhood can lead to obesity, diabetes, as well high blood pressure.
How Much Sleep Should Your Child Get?
The amount of adequate sleep for your kid varies as they grow up. The recommended amount of daily sleep age-wise is:
- Babies < 1 year of age: 12 to 16 hours
- Kids between 1 - 2 years of age: 11 to 14 hours
- Kids between 3 - 5 years of age: 10 - 13 hours
- Kids between 6 - 12 years of age: 9 - 12 hours
- Kids between 13 - 18 years of age: 8 - 10 hours
The above time duration is indicative. If your kid is getting an hour more or less, it is not a cause of concern. However, it is beneficial if they can keep at least the minimum hours of sleep.
6 Tips to Get Your Kid Ample Sleep
As kids grow, their day becomes full of activities and they often have busy schedules between school work, playing, and extracurricular stuff. They are curious and want to explore more of the world before them. All this might affect their sleeping time. Here are some ways you can help your kid build good sleep hygiene:
- Have a regular sleep routine. Wind them down at least half an hour before bedtime. Have a regular sleep routine that can include a bath, changing into sleep clothes, a bedtime story, and dimming the lights. Cocomo Moon Sparkle Body Wash is a relaxing aromatic body wash which is perfect to use before bedtime.
- Have a consistent sleep and wake-up time. Do not alter their bed and wake time even on weekends and holidays. Their body will get used to a regular time.
- Their beds should be a no-screen and homework zone, at any point in time. This makes the association between bed and sleep stronger.
- Provide a healthy and nourishing diet. Avoid giving them drinks or treats high on sugar and caffeine (like sweets, soda, tea, coffee, or packaged juice) before sleeping.
- Avoid exercise or vigorous physical activity at least 1 hour before sleeping. It can overtire them and make sleeping difficult. Instead engage them in activities like preparing the school bag for the next day, keeping away toys and books, and if possible sky or star gazing.
- Avoid exposing them to scary or violent content. Be aware of the content not only on TV and in movies, but also in video games and books. If your kids love spooky stuff, try that they see or read during the day.
Sleep Problems in Kids
Kids have different stress triggers than adults. A change in the routine, a new sibling, a change of place or school, and even minor ailments like cold, cough, and ear infection can make sleeping hard for your kids. Some of the common sleep disorders are:
- Nightmares - Bad dreams or nightmares can frighten toddlers and school-going kids as well. Ensure that the kids are not exposed to graphic and violent content. Put them gently back to sleep offering them reassurances. If your kid is afraid of the dark, use a nightlight for them.
- Night Terrors - They are also called sleep terrors. The kids may scream and sit upright during a night terror, but in most probability will not remember in the morning. Occasional terrors are fine but if it affects sleep and daytime functioning, you should consult the pediatrician.
- Sleep Talking - Talking during sleeping is quite common. It happens mostly during light sleep. It is harmless mostly but it can be connected to nightmares or sleepwalking.
- Snoring - Occasional snoring in kids is not a reason for concern. It may, however, point towards swollen tonsils, allergies, obesity, or secondhand smoking. If your kid snores excessively, it may be sleep apnea.
- Sleep Walking - Some kids may also experience sleepwalking. Just like sleep talkers, kids who sleepwalk are unaware of their surroundings. It is essential that you safety-proof the bedroom if your kid sleepwalks. You can also consult your kid’s doctor.
- Restless Leg Syndrome - It is indicated by an urge to keep moving the legs or shaking them up. Your kid might be exhausted or suffering from iron deficiency. Check with your pediatrician if there are consistent episodes of restless leg syndrome in your kid.
Resting and sleeping are how our mind and body relax and recharge themselves. Adequate sleep makes your kid attentive, alert, and also fit for the busy schedule full of activities. To help your kid cultivate appropriate sleep hygiene, follow a regular sleep routine, use the bed only for sleeping, have nourishing food and sleep at the same time every day.