Bedtime is a dreaded time of day for most kids, and for many it’s their mission to try and stay up as late as possible. However, with sleep being just as important as exercising and eating healthy, making sure they’re getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep is crucial. In fact, it’s been found that children who get less than eight hours of sleep a night are much more likely to get lower grades and not perform as well in class as their peers who do. That’s why it’s crucial to establish a regular sleep routine at home, as it’s vital for your child’s academic performance and success.
Why does sleep affect my child’s performance?
Whilst your children are at school their mind and body are constantly active, learning and reacting which is extremely tiring! To ensure they’re ready to perform at school, it’s essential they recover with a good night’s rest. If kids are tired, their cognitive abilities such as memory, creativity and decision making are hugely affected. You may even find they fall asleep in class, have a short attention span or can’t be bothered to participate, which is all going to affect their grades. To see how many hours your kids should be getting per night, check out this helpful NHS page.
Signs your child isn’t getting enough sleep
If you’re worried that your child isn’t getting enough sleep, have a quick check through the list below. If any of them stand out to you, it’s time to take action.
- Trouble waking up in the morning
- Lots of energy at night
- Mood swings or is irritable
- Looking exhausted
- Lack of coordination and concentration
- Falls asleep during the day
- Lack of interest and feels unmotivated
- Is struggling academically
- Acts hyperactive or aggressive often
Tips to help your children get more sleep
One of the most important things parents can do is be consistent with bedtimes and wake-up times, on week nights and the weekends. Even if your child resists at first, just be persistent and explain how having a bedtime routine isn’t negotiable. After a couple of weeks of heading to bed and waking up at the same time, your kids will start to get used to it and begin to see it as a normal part of their day.
Teach them about the importance of sleep
To help avoid the bedtime battles, parents can talk to their children about the importance of sleep by discussing the benefits in a relatable way. Explain how plenty of sleep means they will have more energy to play sports, hang out with friends after school, achieve better grades and feel happier, energised and motivated each day. Teaching them the positive outcomes in this way shows them how much more they can achieve and will help shift their mindset so they see sleep as vital part of their day.
Create a bedtime routine
Having a bedtime routine is just as important for children as it is for adults. Around an hour before it’s time for lights out, ensure all technology is away or turned off- including phones and TV’s and create a cosy atmosphere in your child’s bedroom. It’s also a good idea to try and encourage kids to partake in relaxing activities such as having a warm bath or listening to calming music. Reading is also a fantastic way to help them wind down after a busy day at school and will help them fall asleep easily.
Limit caffeine and sugar
Avoid letting your kids have caffeine or sugary foods a few hours before bedtime. These types of food and drink give bursts of energy, which will make it tricky for them to drift off. Instead let them enjoy calming alternatives such as a warm mug of milk or peppermint tea.
If your child continues to have difficulty getting enough sleep or following a sleep routine, always consult with your family GP.