Many kids don't come close to getting the necessary amount of sleep for proper development. Mighty Mommy has on 5 ways that you and your kids can catch more Z's.
For starters, agree on a reasonable time that your house is going to go into "quiet mode." You can adjust this to work with your kids ages. In our family of mostly teens, we decided that TV, music, and other electronic gadgets would be turned off by 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends. This took several weeks of consistent attempts, but we're now in the habit of powering off at roughly the same time each evening.
In addition to shutting down our electronics, we've also revamped our evening routine to include getting homework completed, making lunches for the next day, and getting outfits and backpacks ready well before bedtime. This way we can spend some time powering ourselves down before turning in rather than scurrying around like lunatics to get everything done.
Tip #4: Keep a Sleep Pattern on the Weekends
During the crazy time when I had 4 kids under the age of 6, one way I was able to maintain my sanity was to have a set bedtime routine 7 days a week. Toddlers and younger kids don't realize that Friday night is the beginning of the weekend. To them every day is like the others. So keeping their bedtime routine the same no matter what day it is created expectations that were easy for them to follow.
Now that my kids are older, obviously our routines have changed. But sticking to a similar sleep-wake cycle 7 days a week hasn't. Some of my teens used to sleep in well past noon on the weekends, just to catch up on shut-eye. But this ultimately made them even more tired because it created an inconsistent sleep pattern. After we revamped our sleep habits as a family, my teens have consistent routine. They rise and shine only an hour or so later on weekends than they would on a school day. And if they are craving more sleep, they catch a nap instead which doesn't throw off their rhythms.
Tip #5: Educate Your Family on Sleep
There are many myths out there about sleep. So it's important not to fall into a trap of misinformation. Be The Boss of Your Sleep: Self-Care for Kids by Dr. Timothy Culbert is a wonderful book for kids 8 and up. You can also download a PDF of The National Institutes of Health's Guide to Healthy Sleep for free. This terrific resource covers everything from A to Z about sleep.
Additionally, go to QuickandDirtyTips.com for great articles and podcasts about the importance of sleep. Check out Symptoms and Dangers of Sleep Apnea by the House Call Doctor, Sleep for Fat Loss and Muscle Gain by Get-Fit Guy, How to Sleep Now: Quick Fixes for Insomnia by the Savvy Psychologist, and many others.
How do you help your kids get more sleep? Share your thoughts in the Comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.