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8 Hours of Sleep? Is that Enough for Children?
Here are Tips for a Healthy Sleep Routine for Them

It’s been two weeks since school started and how are your children coping with waking up in the morning?

School has started and what does this mean? This means that you need to wake them up more than once before they get off the bed. This also means that they may suddenly be crying not wanting to go to school because they are super sleepy and the only thing they want to do is get back to sleep. 

At that time, your heart is filled with voices, ‘if only everything is easier,’ ‘if only they follow what we say,’ ‘I wonder how I can make things better and faster for us’. 

Moms and dads, there is something that you can do to solve this problem. But of course, it will all depend on your children. We cannot guarantee that your children will not cry or throw a light tantrum at you but as parents, we should try our best to get them the best sleeping experience possible so when they wake up the next morning, they will feel energized to go to school.

We have listed down 4 tips you can prepare your children for a healthy sleep routine. 

Let’s Get to Bed at _____ p.m.

As a parent, what time do you usually ask your children to go to bed?

We know this is a difficult question to answer. It seems simple but it isn’t. 8.30 pm? 9.00 pm? 10.30 pm? Or midnight when the clock strikes 12? 

Some parents might answer 9.30 pm but some others might have a different answer. 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended that children aged 6 to 12 years old should have 9 to 12 hours of sleep every day especially if the next day means wearing their school uniform for school.

The ideal time for your children to sleep is at 9.00 pm or the latest, 9.30 pm. Let them have fun after dinner for an hour or so before you call them to sleep. 

If they sleep at 9.00 pm and wake up at 6.00 pm for school, then they will have 9 hours of sleep which is enough for them to focus at school and be productive whenever they need to be. 

There’s Someone Under the Bed. BOO!

Was there ever a time when your children suddenly woke up from bed at night because they heard something from under the bed? Or when they wanted to sleep with you so bad because they’re afraid of the dark after watching Goosebumps?

We’re sure most of you have experienced this. What happened next was something that made you very indecisive. You didn’t know how to answer them. If you ever encountered this situation, the best thing to do is to accompany them back to bed. Comfort them and sleep next to them for a while. Once they have dozed off, only then you get up and leave so that they can sleep peacefully. 

You may also sometimes reward or praise your children whenever they are brave. If your children are easily afraid of ghosts, it’s time for them to avoid horror movies, games or shows at all costs. This means no Monster House (movie), The Addams Family (show) or Hello Neighbour (games).

If it helps, you should buy a table lamp or a night light for your children. This will help them to sleep better at night as they’re aware of what’s around them. Not knowing what is in the shadows is what made them afraid in the first place.

Can I Have Biscuits Before Going to Bed?

For all we know, of course they can. But here’s the thing, it is not advisable for them to eat anything including cookies an hour before bedtime.

Why? Eating right before going to bed is not a good habit. And it tends to go way beyond cookies as most of your children’s preferences would be chips and snacks to munch on after they had quite a good dinner before. It also doesn’t allow the body to digest the food properly, putting them at a higher risk of obesity. They may also feel lazy to wake up in bed the next day.

But of course, there would be times where your children may be really hungry and cannot go to bed as their stomach growls. So if they insist on eating before bed, try consuming healthier food like apples, grapes or yogurt.

Expose Your Children to Natural Light in the Day

They need to get out of the house more often. During the weekdays, if they would like to play outside with their friends or even only their siblings or with you, say YES! During the weekends, if they wake you up at 8.00 am in the morning, go to a park and let them play at the playground area. 

Natural light helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm which is highly responsible for sleep-wake cycles. Exposure to natural light during the day helps promote the production of melatonin in the body, a hormone that regulates sleep. 

Exposure to daylight also helps them to feel more alert and awake during the day, letting them feel more tired as the day progresses, making it easier to fall asleep at bedtime. Studies also show that natural light can also improve a child’s mood and reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression. This can indirectly help them with sleep by reducing the risk of stress and negative emotions that keep them at night. 

The tendency for them to go to sleep is also higher as your children will use a lot of their energy walking, running and playing. They will be tired as the moon appears, replacing the sunlight.

Written by:
Ian Firdaus