With the beginning of summer here and the end of the school year the need to consider our children’s habits while they are at home. Many children are home alone or home with older siblings and are limited in their activities. This can lead to issues that will increase health problems.

The sleeping pattern for a child is very important. During sleep they not only rest; they heal from injuries, grow and their minds process much of the information it accumulates during the day. The amount a child or teen needs is higher then an adult yet we treat our children as if they have the same needs as adults. Limit setting is sometimes difficult but is as necessary during the summer as the school year.

Here are a few tips for encouraging sleep in children:

• Set a strict bedtime for most days but allow for special occasions. This will keep them on a schedule and will reduce the need to adjust their schedule when school starts.
• Allow them to sleep in on the weekend. If your child has some sleep debt, a need the body has for extra sleep, it can help to be allowed to sleep in on certain days.
• Make sure that there room is dark and quiet. It is hard to go to sleep with excess light and noise. This does not allow the brain to settle down.
• Remove all electronics from the room. There are two problems with electronics such as game systems, television and computers, they are tempting to go back to when the patents leave, and using them right before they go to sleep will not allow the brain to prepare itself for sleep.
• Create a routine to help them unwind. If a child does the same routine every night they are set up for sleep success. A great routine would start with sitting quietly about 30 minutes before bed and read or be read to, then go brush their teeth, change into sleep clothes, get a glass of water for the bedside table ( will eliminate the “I’m thirsty” call), turn off the lights and get into bed.

Parents want what is best for their children. It is essential that we work with them to succeed in all areas of their life. Helping them to get enough sleep will help them to learn better, be healthier and be happier.

Author's Bio: 

Amy Korn-Reavis, RRT, RPSGT has been working with those with sleep and breathing problems for 25 years. She is the coordinator of A.W.A.K.E. Orlando, a support group for people with sleep disorders and their families. She will be happy to answer any questions and can be reached at amykorn@embarqmail.com.