Unleash Each Child's Potential

Children need consistent, quality rest in order to be successful. It helps them learn better and helps them stay healthy. Children benefit greatly when they get enough rest, but they also suffer when they do not get an adequate amount. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that their children get enough rest.

One reason sleep is crucial for children is because it allows them to learn better. It enhances their overall cognitive development and will help them reach their full academic potential. Studies have shown that students who regularly get enough sleep have better memories than students who do not get enough.  When their brains are well-rested, students can solve problems, concentrate better, and learn new information well. Their brains use sleeping hours to sort through the day’s information, which allows for long-term retention of the knowledge they have learned. Children are also more motivated, pay better attention, and behave better when they are well-rested and alert.

Sleep at night is essential for children of all ages to learn, but babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need additional naps for successful learning and development. The University of Massachusetts Amherst proved this with a study they did involving a Memory game. A group of 40 preschoolers took hour-long naps each day for one week, and then did not take naps the next week. During the week without naps, the students forgot 15% percent of what they learned while playing the game. However, they retained everything they learned when they had naps.

Good sleep, including naps, provides many benefits to children’s physical health as well. Children who get adequate rest have healthier growth than children who do not. This is because the hormone that helps children grow is secreted most when they are sleeping. Children also produce proteins known as cytokines when they sleep, which helps their bodies fight off infection and illness. This means sleep is essential for a strong immune system. Children who get enough rest are also more likely to have a healthy weight. This is because sleep deprivation impacts the hormone that signals fullness, so children are more likely to overeat when they do not sleep well. Over time, eating this way can cause childhood obesity. Children who are tired also tend to crave foods that are unhealthy, which contributes to unhealthy weight gain.

A lack of sleep can cause many other negative repercussions for children. According to the medical journal Sleep, the first three years of life are especially important when it comes to getting enough sleep. Children that don’t receive adequate sleep during these early years are more prone to hyperactivity and impulsivity. Hyperactivity can cause children to have trouble focusing, which can be a detriment to learning. Additionally, increased impulsive actions can cause behavior problems, as well as pose health risks. When children are more impulsive, accidents are more likely to occur. A recent study in China found that children that do not receive age-appropriate amounts of rest are far more likely to have serious injuries that require medical attention than children who do not.

For these reasons, sleep needs to be treated as a priority in a child’s home. Parents can do this by setting an example and getting enough sleep themselves. Often, busy working parents don’t get enough rest, which can create a mentality within the home that the children can function on less sleep as well. Parents need to purposefully schedule time to sleep for their children and themselves. This will help everyone function better during the day. It will also improve the family’s mental health.

Parents can reinforce the idea that sleep is a good thing for everyone by talking about going to bed in a positive light, such as “You get to go to bed,” rather than “You have to go bed.” Parents should never yell at their children to go to bed. Parents must set a consistent bedtime so children will get the rest they need to learn and grow. Bedtime should be determined by how many hours of sleep a child needs each night. The appropriate amount of sleep time varies by age. Infants up to 12 months need 12-16 hours of sleep, including several naps. Children 1-2 years of age need 11-14 hours, and preschoolers aged 3-5 need 10-13 hours; each age range includes naps. Parents should use these guidelines to create appropriate schedules for their children. For example, a parent of a preschooler might determine that their child who gets up at 7:00 am needs to go to bed between 7:00 and 8:00 pm. The child should also get at least a one-hour nap each day.

Bedtime should be a non-negotiable part of the day for a child. Once healthy patterns are in place, children know what to expect and will follow routines. A predictable, consistent routine throughout the day helps a child feel safe and secure. Doing the same activities each night will help bedtime be less stressful for children. Some activities for a bedtime routine might be giving a bath, reading a story, and brushing teeth before bed. These are healthy habits, and they are also activities that can be done anywhere, so the child’s bedtime routine won’t be disrupted when he or she is away from home.

Children should wind down at night before going to sleep. Wind down time should start about 30 minutes prior to bedtime with low-key activities that don’t involve electronics such as puzzles, reading, or coloring. This is because TV and other electronics compromise sleep quality and cause children to take longer to fall asleep. According to the medical journal Pediatrics, it is not recommended for children of any age to have a TV in their bedroom.

Another way to help children wind down is by creating a dark environment. This can be done by dimming the lights in their bedroom. It is also helpful to dim bright bathroom lighting while children are getting ready for bed. Tiny light sources from electronics should be removed from a child’s room, covered, or turned away.

Children’s bedrooms should also be free of clutter to create a calmer atmosphere, and to prevent tripping over things in the dark. The room should stay quiet with a cool and comfortable temperature. Parents should also make sure their children are sleeping on a high-quality, supportive, and comfortable mattress. A mattress protector can be used to keep the mattress cleaner and minimize allergens.

Good sleep is essential for a child’s learning and development. Sleep helps children perform better in school and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Parents should make bedtime a priority in their homes by setting consistent bedtimes and regular bedtime routines. Children are much more likely to thrive when they receive consistent, quality rest.

References :

https://restonic.com)

(Importance of good sleep routines for children. (2018, Healthy sleep habits: how many hours does your child need? (2018, July 2). Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org)

Dec 3). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com)