Kids Need Sleep
Even though we think of young people as having boundless energy in some respects, teenagers actually require more sleep than adults. In fact, according to Everyday Health, teens need nine to 10 hours of sleep every night in order to stay healthy. With less, teens become sleep-deprived and can suffer from depression, are more apt to have driving accidents, experience memory issues, and are at a higher risk for behavioral issues such as hyperactivity, temper tantrums, and an inability to focus. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, the struggle is real. Teenagers experience a natural, age-related shift in their circadian rhythms, which some experts say explains their tendency to be night owls. So how do you keep your kids on a schedule that ensures they get enough sleep, especially during summer months?
Sleep Environment Matters
Creating a restful sleep environment can be a key in helping your teen get sufficient sleep. For instance, if your child is staying up too late, it may be time to remove technology from the bedroom. The experts at HomeAdvisor explain that clutter and the blue light emitted from screens can cause distractions and inhibit good sleep. Both are good reasons to make your child's bedroom a screen-free zone.
Establish a Routine
Even though your kids aren’t in school, they can still adhere to a daily routine. While it may not be pleasant, it’s important to put your foot down when it comes to setting a bedtime every night. One suggestion is to encourage your teen to stay in a nightly habit, winding down at the same time and in the same way each evening. Also, establish a daily wake-up time. Needing to get up instead of sleeping in will help your teen’s body tell her she’s tired.
Teens tend to lounge in their bedrooms a lot. If you find your teen isn’t getting out and about, look for activities your kid enjoys and encourage involvement. Some professionals suggest discussing options with your teen. Allowing your child to have input in ideas encourages enthusiasm and ownership. Another suggestion is to help your teen find a job for the summer. Working in a camp or at a fast-food restaurant -- or even babysitting -- are perfectly good options for teaching kids about responsibility and, at the same time, giving them some spending money. It also helps keep your teen in a routine, and some positions help keep them in contact with their peers in a productive environment.
Talk About It
Once you enact your plan to encourage your child’s sleep habits, you can gauge how well it’s working with a straightforward discussion. The Chicago Tribune recommends asking your teen if she feels rested in the morning, if she feels prepared for the day, if she relies on caffeine to get through her activities, and if she is driving, does she feel alert while doing so? If there are any negative responses, you need to look for more improvements, such as an earlier bedtime or cracking down on electronics more. Some research reflects even using a cell phone before retiring can disrupt sleep, so consider taking away the phone well before bedtime.
Sleep Tight, Kids
Sleep is a vital component of ensuring good health and performance, even for kids, and even when school is out. Take steps to create a great sleep environment, establish a routine, keep your kids busy, and talk about what’s working and what isn’t. For their own good, ensure your kids are getting sufficient sleep, even though it’s summertime.