The start of a new school year also means the start of a new schedule — for both you and your child. With early morning wake-ups, after-school activities and late-night study sessions, it’s all too easy for a good night’s sleep to slip lower on the list of priorities.
Yet, ensuring your child gets plenty of sleep is one of the most important tasks you can undertake as a parent. Children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have behavioral issues and difficulty concentrating in the classroom. A lack of sleep can even lead to weight gain and other health hazards. But how do you know if your child is getting enough rest?
The recommended amount of sleep for school-aged children is between 10 and 12 hours per night. If you’re concerned that your child may not be getting enough shut-eye, here are a few telltale signs to look out for.
5 Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep
Trouble Waking Up in the Morning
If your child is overly familiar with the snooze button or has to be woken up several times in the morning before actually getting out of bed, it’s very likely he or she didn’t get enough sleep the night before. When your child is getting an adequate amount of sleep, waking up in the morning won’t feel like an unwinnable battle.
Complaining of Feeling Tired
Sometimes the easiest way to tell if your child is getting enough sleep is to simply pay attention. Does your son rub his eyes at the dinner table? Is your daughter falling asleep in the car on the way home? If your child is complaining about feeling tired all the time or being too tired to participate in something they would usually enjoy, that’s a good sign it’s time to move their bedtime up an hour earlier.
Needing an Afternoon Nap
Once your child is past a certain age, he or she shouldn’t need an afternoon nap to make it through the day. However, if your school-aged child is coming home and immediately falling asleep, it’s possible they’ve been fighting sleep deprivation all day. Getting more sleep overnight can help to energize their afternoons so a nap won’t feel necessary.
Playing Catch-up on the Weekends
While the weekends are a great time for your child to rest and recharge, they shouldn’t have to sleep an excessive amount just to feel ready for Monday. When adequate sleep happens during the week, weekend sleep should just continue the established routine.
Difficulty Controlling Emotions
A tired child may get frustrated or upset more easily and have difficulty expressing why they feel the way they feel. If you notice your child becoming overly emotional for no apparent reason, sleep deprivation may be influencing their reactions.
Remember: A well-rested child is a happy child. Don’t let a busy school schedule keep your child from getting the sleep he or she needs to succeed.
And don’t stop there — keep healthy habits going all school year with our free healthy back-to-school guide.