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Avoid the Bedtime Battle

Bedtime can be a fight, prompting some parents to abandon regular bedtimes. However, not getting enough sleep can affect children’s health and behavior.

Children in preschool and elementary school need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each day. Sleep is a time for their brains to develop; it helps them maintain attention and good behavior at school. Additionally, without enough sleep, they may be at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Help your child get enough sleep by using these techniques:

Have a regular bedtime. Follow a regular bedtime routine to help prevent arguments about going to sleep. If each night is the same, bedtime becomes habit for kids. Their bodies will become used to the timing, and they will get sleepy at the appropriate times.

Take a bath. Warm baths can soothe and relax children. If baths are part of the nightly routine, they can serve as a time to wend down before bed.

Read a book. Just like adults, reading before bed can help children fall asleep. It also encourages reading and learning in the future.

Set the scene for restful sleep. Bedrooms should be dark, cool and quiet, free of TVs, computers or video games that can disrupt sleep cycles. Stop these activities at least an hour before bedtime so children have time to calm down.

Good sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle that allows children to function at their best. Just like you teach your children about eating habits, you should teach them about the sleeping habits they’ll need their whole lives.

POSTED: 03/17/2013
CATEGORIES: Family CarePrimary Care
TAGS: sleepchildrenkids

Author of this article

Dr. Walls began practicing as a pediatrician in 2004. She is very interested in the growth and development of children, and strives to provide a positive influence in her patients’ lives. Dr. Walls understands that every child is unique and that the parents’ input is invaluable to help her treat each child as an individual. She is especially interested in caring for newborns, adolescents, pediatric obesity and asthma management. Dr. Walls enjoys reading, traveling, doing yoga and spending time with her husband and three young children.

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