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  • Writer's pictureDr. Susan Halverson & Dr. Jorie Shire

Embrace the Zzz's: Nurturing a Healthy Sleep Schedule for School-Age Children

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Expert Tips from PCI Pediatricians

Adequate sleep is crucial for school-age children’s overall well-being and academic success. We’ll dive into the significance of a good sleep schedule in school-age children and explore effective ways to establish a bedtime routine.

The Importance of a Consistent Sleep Schedule

A consistent sleep schedule plays a pivotal role in promoting healthy physical, mental, and emotional development in school-age children. Here's why it matters:

  • Enhanced Cognitive Function: A well-rested child is more focused, alert, and better equipped to absorb and retain new information in the classroom.

  • Strengthened Immune System: Quality sleep supports the immune system, reducing the risk of illnesses that can disrupt school attendance.

  • Emotional Regulation: Sufficient sleep contributes to improved mood and emotional regulation, reducing irritability and meltdowns.

  • Physical Growth and Development: During sleep, the body releases growth hormones, supporting your child's physical development.

  • Consistency and Routine: A regular sleep schedule fosters discipline and structure, contributing to a more organized and stress-free lifestyle.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

  • Gradual Transition after Holidays: Start adjusting your child's bedtime gradually, about a week or two before school starts. Incrementally move bedtime earlier to help them readjust to their school routine after extended time away from school.

  • Consistent Bedtime: Set a consistent bedtime that allows for the recommended hours of sleep for your child's age. For school-age children (6 to 12 years old), 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night is generally recommended.

  • Wind-Down Period: Create a calming wind-down routine before bedtime to signal to your child's body that it's time to relax and prepare for sleep. This could include activities such as reading a book, dimming the lights, or taking a warm bath.

  • Limit Screen Time: Avoid electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

  • Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment: Ensure your child's bedroom is conducive to sleep - cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains and white noise machines if necessary.

  • Consistency is Key: Stick to the established bedtime routine even on weekends and holidays to reinforce healthy sleep habits.

  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate the importance of a good sleep schedule by prioritizing your own rest and setting an example for your child.

A consistent bedtime routine is not only crucial for their physical health but also for their academic success and emotional well-being. By fostering healthy sleep habits early on, we equip our children with valuable life skills that will serve them well into adulthood.

As parents, let's make sleep a priority for our children and ourselves. Together, we can empower our kids to embrace the beauty of a well-rested mind and body, creating a thriving and successful school year ahead. Sweet dreams and a bright future await!


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