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A School Break Doesn’t Mean An Abnormal Sleep Schedule

December 16, 2020 10:36 am

Most parents want to cut their kids a little slack during a school break, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to develop an abnormal sleep schedule.

The Right Amount Of Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation pre-school children should get 10-13 hours of sleep, whereas school age elementary children up to age 13 require 9-11 hours of sleep. As for teens, they need 8-10 hours of restful sleep.

During a school break these standards can be stretched both ways. Younger kids don’t want to go to bed, and teens may sleep until after the noon hour. What’s a parent to do?

Flat lay composition of Christmas decorations, knitted plaid and alarm clock on school blackboard with phrase Winter Break

Consistency Is Key To Managing Sleep Schedules

All kids need routines and structure in their lives. They may gripe about it, but as a parent, it’s our job to provide that consistency, especially when it comes to sleep schedules.

  • For younger children who find it hard to sleep, be sure they get enough physical activity during the day to help them fall asleep, and keep their bedroom cool.
  • Teens may tend to “oversleep” during break, but there should  be a limit. Some extra sleep won’t hurt them, but sleeping the day away isn’t healthy either. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of going to bed very late and getting up late. Set a reasonable time for them to rise during the break, usually by 10 AM. For kids that have a hard time falling asleep at night, they should not sleep more than 1-2 hours past their normal wake up time. This will help them keep a consistent schedule.
  • Don’t allow kids to indulge in sweet  snacks, sugary drinks or caffeine right before bedtime.
  • Curb the use of cell phones, TV, and video games before bedtime.
  • Nap times for younger children should not change.

Some Final Thoughts About Sleep

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy life for both children and adults. The right amount and the quality of our sleep can affect the mood, development, productivity, and the performance of our children. You can be flexible during the break and yet still maintain a consistent and healthy sleep schedule.

For more information or tips about healthy sleep schedules, contact The Pediatric and Adolescent Sleep Center at (703) 226-2290 today!

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