How Much Sleep Should Your Child Get?


If you’re struggling to get your kids back on a school-year schedule, you aren’t alone. Getting them back into that sleep routine not only takes time, but it’s important for your kids overall wellbeing.

Liz Peters is a mom of three. She has two middle schoolers and a high schooler. 

She knows all too well how hard it is to get back on a school-year schedule. 

“Well being that my 10th grader was sleeping in until 2 in the afternoon this summer, she probably has had the biggest adjustment,” Peters said. 

These are the sleep recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation. 

They range from 8 hours to 14 hours. 

Family Life Educator at Avera Doniese Wilcox says you should take them only as recommendations. 

“You can’t exactly predict what any one child needs,” Wilcox said. 

Nevertheless, getting enough sleep is important. 

That’s why set bedtimes are essential. 

“One is 9:00, one is 9:30, the other is 10 and we say no phones after bedtime, therefore, it takes it out of the mix,” Peters said. 

If your kids are still stuck in a summer routine, here’s Wilcox’s advice on how to adjust. 

“If you need to alter the sleep schedule, do it 15 minutes at a time, and increase that maybe every 2 to 3 days,” Wilcox said. 

For a better night’s sleep, make sure you take control of your kids environment. 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime because there is some evidence that suggests the blue light from these devices decreases melatonin in the brain making it harder to fall asleep. 

“Children should not have tvs in their bedroom, they should not have tablets, electronic games, smartphones, I don’t care what it is, they should not be in the bedroom,” Wilcox said. 

Wilcox says lack of sleep has even been linked to depression in teens and behavioral problems in younger kids.

 Another reason why getting enough Z’s is important for a school-year of success. 

“They’ve learned that from me, that sleep is precious and important and good for their health,” Peters said. 

Wilcox also says if your kids have nightlights in their rooms… make sure the light they emit is red. 

Unlike blue light, studies suggest red light increases melatonin in the brain, making it easier to fall asleep. 

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