The Blog

sleep is very important to a child’s social, emotional and academic development.

November 30, 2018

I noticed a trend lately.  The topic of children and sleep has bubbled to the surface in print, social media and recent conversations with parents.  I’m not sure, if as a society, we are more aware of the benefits of sleep or if this is by chance.  After reading articles and research, one thing is for sure…sleep is very important to a child’s social, emotional and academic development.

Last year, the Washington Post published an article citing studies that suggest a strong link between the length, timing and quality of sleep with behaviors.  Evidence also suggests a growing number of children suffer from insufficient sleep, insomnia, and obstructed breathing. “As a result, they fall asleep later and get less sleep overall, with consequences for other body processes,” stated Ariana Eunjung Cha, the author of the article.  “When the body’s natural rhythms are disturbed, it can lead to inattentiveness, irritability and challenging behavior,” concluded Eunjung Cha.

After reviewing several articles on the suggested amount of sleep for children, I found the most helpful information on sleep.org.  According to this source:

Rule #1: Know how much shuteye your kid needs

As a parent, determine when bedtime should be, don’t leave this up to the child.  General guidelines to follow are: 

  • Toddlers: (EC and PK) need a total of 11 to 14 hours of sleep, split between nighttime sleeping and daytime naps.
  • Pre-schoolers: (JK and SK) should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep daily, including naps.
  • Grade-schoolers: (Grades 1-6) need nine to 12 hours of sleep each night.
  • Teens: may try to convince you otherwise but require almost as much sleep as their younger siblings—eight to 10 hours each night.

Rule #2: Keep the same bedtime.

Kids sleep better when they have a regular bedtime, and the routine prepares their bodies for bed, so they can fall asleep faster.

Rule #3: Create a ritual.

Establishing a calming, pre-bed routine for a child at a young age will help set the stage for better sleep and fewer middle-of-the-night awakenings. Running through the same activities every evening sends a cue to the brain that it’s time for sleep. 

Over the years, I’ve developed this sense of knowing when children haven’t had a good night’s sleep; often their eyes are the indicator.  Parents share the difficulties with bedtime and the frustration that can surround it. Seek professional help when necessary.  And remember…all of us feel better when we have a good night’s sleep, even adults!

All the best,

Sam

Sam Templin-Page
Head of School

More from the Blog

Once a month, I teach a leadership class to the Sixth Grade students.  Our topics range from how to build leadership characteristics, to managing friendships, to the secondary school process.  My aim is to make the classes

Yesterday, four Second Graders unexpectedly arrived at my doorway, followed by Mr. Lou, our Director of IT. While I could hear their quiet banter back and forth, I was more keenly aware of the muffled giggles coming from them.

Yesterday an alumni parent arrived to transport our food donations to Moonlight’s Meals, a food pantry in Parkway School District.  Our Middle School students eagerly loaded boxes onto flatbeds and awaited instructions on how to best execute packing the cans and boxes of food into her van.