The demands of school, athletics, and our children’s desire to do the activities they love create an all too common pattern that leaves parents and children equally exhausted and stressed out. More often than not, the importance of sleep is overlooked during the busy day-to-day schedule of most families.
Children require a lot of sleep! However, the typical day of a 7th grader may begin at 6:30am for a full day at school until 3:30pm. Any sports requirements or extracurricular activities may keep them busy until 5:30pm, followed by dinner and homework until 11:00pm.
The typical day of an 11th grader is not much different, except there is additional homework, an even later bedtime, and the stress of SAT preparation.
How Important is Sleep?
At any age, sleep deprivation can cause changes in mood, eating habits, attention span, memory and the ability to learn. Children and teens, especially, need time to “turn off” and de-stress at the end of the day, but the demands of their lives make it very difficult to do so.
Parents that notice their children are overtired and stressed may not know what to do, as well. But remember, the younger the child, the more hours of sleep they need. For example:
- Toddlers need 12 hours of sleep
- Five to six-year-old children need 11 hours of sleep
- School-age children need 10 hours of sleep
- Teenagers need 9 hours of sleep
While teens seem to suffer the most sleep deprivation, oftentimes toddlers with behavior problems are simply overtired and grumpy. By taking the time to learn more and even asking for guidance from a professional, you can begin taking the steps toward establishing a healthy and successful sleep pattern for your child.
What You Can Do
If you find yourself or your child in this situation, it may be of use to seek out a professional who can help. At Georgetown Psychology Associates, we have psychologists that specialize in sleep training and can help get you and your children back on track.