TOLEDO (WTOL) - Experts say sleep plays an important role in our health. With all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s difficult to get a full-night’s sleep. The same is true for our kids, but it’s not always easy getting them to sleep.
Grayden Chamberlain, who is 14 months, is like most toddlers. He’s active, likes to play and explore and unfortunately for mom and dad, he doesn’t really like to sleep.
“He wasn’t a great sleeper when he was a newborn, but then we hit kind of a good spell of sleep and we’re back down to waking up four, five times a night,” said Grayden’s mom, Alisha Chamberlain.
Alisha is actually a little worried her son isn't getting enough sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine breaks it down like this:
Babies up to four months should get 12 to 16 hours a day, including naps and 11 to 14 hours for one to two year olds. For three year olds to five year olds, 10 to 13. Nine to 12 hours for six to 12 year olds and eight to ten hours for 12 to 18 year olds.
Are your kids meeting those goalposts? Mercy Health Pediatrician Doctor Rabia Akbar says, it's crucial.
“I think sleep is as important as taking care of their physical and nutritional needs,” she said.
Dr. Akbar said sleep, or prolonged lack thereof, affects kids' attention, memory, behavior, school performance and even their immune systems. So how can parents achieve the recommended amount of sleep for their kids?
“Having a consistent routine early on. A bath, brushing for oral health, reading a book and then bedtime, and consistently every day at the same time,” said Dr. Akbar.
Dr. Akbar said those routines should be short. Just one book, not four and parents should take control of bedtime.
She said if your child is in the habit of climbing in your bed in the middle of the night, it’s not good for them or you. She said to talk to them about staying in their own room and if there’s a problem, you’ll go to them to check on them.
“Keep it very mundane and very boring. Nighttime is not show time. So keep it very boring so child gets the message. ‘ok, not going to play with mommy and daddy at this time,’” Dr. Akbar explained.
She said it might take a bit for your child to get used to it, but it’s important to be consistent.
While we focus a lot on the little kids, Dr. Akbar said high schoolers are really missing out on sleep.
She said it’s important not to over schedule them and to model good sleep behavior yourself. Dr. Akbar recommends taking away screen time 60 minutes before bedtime. Childrens' rooms should be cool with dim lights. Limit toys in the bed so kids know it’s time to sleep and not pay. She also advises against having a television in older kids' bedrooms.
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