My 13-year-old son REALLY dislikes the National Sleep Foundation. He’s sorry I ever heard of them. Wishes I’d lose the bookmark for their website. Just can’t stand these guys.
Why? Because I use their sleep guidelines to help determine what Matt’s bedtime should be. And he is convinced that he goes to bed earlier than any 8th grader in America. I won’t give you the exact time to protect his privacy. He’d be mortified if you knew, I’m sure. (If you have a middle-school kid, I’d love to know what his or her bedtime is. Just leave a note in the comments.)
But you know what? He does well in school, doesn’t get sick all that often, doesn’t fall asleep over his homework at night, has energy for sports… Sleep: It’s not just for wimps, kiddo.
How much sleep do kids need? Check out these guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation.
Better Sleep Council spokesperson Lissa Coffey offers the following tips to help parents ensure a good night’s sleep for their children.
1. Set a Regular Bedtime For Your Child — and Stick to It. The Obama daughters have an 8:30 pm bedtime, she says. This is an ideal time to tuck children in, especially when kids need to be up early for school.
2. Don’t Over-Schedule Your Child. Too many activities and commitments can keep children from getting enough sleep.
3. Develop a Sleep Ritual That Will Help Your Child Unwind Before Bed. Allow your child at least one hour before bedtime to relax and unwind. Try relaxing activities, like taking a bath or reading with your child, to help him or her transition into sleep mode. This is also a special time to share with your child. Avoid loud music and television prior to bedtime.
4. Keep Computers and Television out of the Bedroom. The bedroom should be used for sleep only. Watching television or going online can be tempting for children once you’ve tucked them in and left the room. Also, be sure radio and MP3 ear pods are out of their ears when you say goodnight!
And if your kids complain about their bedtime? Just blame that darned old National Sleep Foundation.