Further Reading

I am having trouble getting my school age child up in the morning now that school has started. How do I know if they are getting enough sleep?

by Amy R. Beach, FNP-BC, CLC

A child who does not want to get up in the morning may not be getting enough sleep. The following times are recommendation for sleep hours for different ages: for a newborn, 16-18 hours a day; for a preschooler, 11-12; for a school-aged child at least 10 hours; and for a teenager, 9-10. Make sure the sleep time is as consistent as possible, seven days a week. Staying up late or sleeping in on weekends can lead to weekday problems.

Some other nighttime tips to consider are:

  • Create a bedtime ritual. This should be a winding down, but not lengthy time that can be done with or without the parent. Long routines with activities that require a parent’s presence, like singing a special song, can lead to difficulty if the parent is not there and can are difficult to maintain.
  • Make sure the bedroom is a good temperature, not too hot or too cold.
  • Avoid excessive fluids before bedtime, and limit fluids only to water. Absolutely no caffeine!
  • Avoid late night bedtime snacks.
  • Teach your child to self-soothe. Sleeping is a learned habit. The child who has to be rocked to sleep has learned to go to sleep. If the child wants to have an adult lay with them, instead try giving the child an object that smells like the parent to sleep with.
  • Be consistent and avoid drama. If a child wants attention, they may get out of bed to seek attention. If they are promptly put back into bed in a matter-of-fact manner, without threats or drama, they will learn more quickly.
  • Keep a star chart with rewards for accomplishments.
  • Avoid electronics in the bedroom. This includes phones, TV, computers, or tablets. The bed should be only for sleeping. Books read should not be over-stimulating, such as a scary story.

Enough sleep is essential to a successful school performance. Remember, changing routines can take time, but can well be worth the effort.

As always, if your child still seems sleep deprived, see your pediatrician to make sure there are no medical conditions involved.