As a mother of a toddler, sleep is a hot topic in my household. When my son was born, I ignorantly thought he would seamlessly slot into my life and continue to sleep wherever we were at the time: in the car, the pram, the busy cafe or at the beach. As the sleepy newborn bubble burst, so too did my unrealistic expectations. I soon realised my baby thrived on routine and educating myself on how much sleep he needed (and when) soon became a priority.
So how much sleep do school-age kids need?
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, six to 13-year-olds need 10 to 13 hours shut eye overnight, while teens aged 14 to 17 need between eight and 10 hours. Regardless of your child’s age, a consistent bedtime and a consistent bedtime routine will help to encourage great sleep habits. Give plenty of notice before bedtime to allow your kids plenty of time to switch off screens, finish assessments, wind down and get ready for a solid night of slumber. Offering regular bed and wake times will help set your child’s natural body clock so at night they are ready to sleep and wake well rested in the morning. Delay tactics are completely developmentally normal at bedtime for younger children and being consistent really is key. Older kids may protest as well, but having a set routine with time for homework, social commitments and any screen time should assist with switching off and winding down at a reasonable hour.
Stephanie Meekings is a Digital Media Officer at Cairns Catholic Education