Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sleepy children?

by Malina

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It’s summer and the days are longer. There are baseball games, amusement parks, family vacations, sleepovers, movies and all the other fun events of summer. But does summer fun mean sleep deprivation for your child?

Children ages six to nine need at least 10-11 hours of sleep a night. That means if they get up at 7 am, they need to be asleep at 9 pm the night before. Children ages ten to fourteen need 9-10 hours of sleep and teenagers over fifteen still need 8-9 hours of sleep. These kids aren’t going to school early in the morning and may not have much of a routine. So we think they must be getting enough sleep. But are they really?

While how to get your infant or toddler to establish good sleep habits is a hot topic, the sleep patterns of older children should not be ignored. Children who are sleep deprived exhibit many negative behaviors. According to Pediatric Neurology, “Recent research has verified that chronic poor sleep results in daytime tiredness, difficulties with focused attention, low threshold to express negative emotion (irritability and easy frustration), and difficulty modulating impulses and emotions.” To read more about the negative effects of sleep deprivation in children, go here or here.

I know I have seen a direct link between how happy and helpful my boys are to the amount of sleep they have gotten in the past couple of nights. We are still trying hard to put them to bed at 9 pm each night even if the sun isn’t completely set. They will be up at 7 am no matter what and they need their sleep so they can fully enjoy all the fun things we are doing this summer!

Are you enforcing bedtimes this summer? Have you noticed negative behaviors in your child when they haven’t had enough sleep?

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