Sleep… Tell me, who doesn’t love it? We all love it and need it, but most times adults and kids alike ignore the need for sleep. Why? Sometimes it’s just that we have some fun thing to do. Before you know it, lack of sleep has become a part of daily life and we do not even think that we sleep less than needed. We do the same thing for our kids too!!! And kids not only need sleep for resting and rejuvenation but also for growth too!!
To understand this better, let us go to basics. How much sleep do kids need?
How do I know this? Like every other involved parent, when I don’t have an answer, I look to the internet. After going to many different sites, this is what I summarized; again, this is just an estimate. I must tell you that I am very glad that I have implemented this and it worked for me!
So, first we need to observe for how long our child sleeps. To do that, add up all sleep times of the child; nighttime and any nap. Now, we get a clear picture if our child is having enough sleep.
Next, see if the child exhibits some of these:
- Difficult to wake up in the morning
- Difficulty falling asleep – One of the reasons it’s so hard to know when our kids are getting insufficient sleep is that drowsy children don’t necessarily slow down the way we do—they wind up. Children often act as if they’re not tired, resisting bedtime and becoming hyper as the evening goes on. All this can happen because the child is overtired.
- Increased appetite – Just like we us, even kids eat when they have nothing to do. If they are sleeping less, they have more time on their hands. Obviously, a good part of it will be spent eating which can lead to obesity.
- Falling asleep as soon as they hit the pillow (sleep should take about 20 minutes for a healthy sleeper)
- Overly emotional (explosive temper tantrums, easily hurt feelings, no patience)
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing during play
- Taking long, or excessive naps
- Defiant or contrary behavior
- Accident prone, or clumsy
- Excessive talking (more questions than normal or frenzied conversation)
If the child does sleep less and shows some of the above mentioned symptoms, we must try changing their sleeping patterns to ensure that they get enough sleep.
Yes, I know that it will be a lot of struggle to make these changes. Well, I will give you a trick that worked for me. Once my child was 5 yrs, we stopped afternoon naps and made sure she was tired enough end of day. That way, when we put her to bed early, she slept without much struggle. We all have a few tricks up our sleeve and we owe it not only to our kids but even us!! After all, if these small changes can improve their behavior, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
- Jignya S
- March 30, 2017
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