Advice: Sleep is an important part of school readiness

During this time of year parents are preparing their children to go back to school, but sometimes they forget that the most important thing they can do for their kids is to make sure they get enough sleep.

The following are the general sleep guidelines posted by Web MD for school-aged children.

>> 10 to 12 hours per day for 3- to 6-year-olds

>> 10 to 11 hours per day for 7- to 12-year-olds

>> 8 to 9 hours per day for 12- to 18-year-olds

Studies show that sleep affects our bodies psychologically and hormonally.

None of us function well when we don’t get enough sleep, especially children whose brain is not yet fully developed.

Making sure your children get enough sleep is as important as making sure they eat healthy meals.

When children don’t get enough sleep, it is difficult for them to focus in school. Parents will also find they will have trouble getting them to cooperate at home.

When children get the sleep they need they are happier, more alert and will be more willing to listen and cooperate. Teens also need a lot of sleep sometimes more sleep than when they were younger.

Research shows that sleep promotes growth. This is one of the reasons that babies spend 50% of their time sleeping.

Children today are getting significantly less sleep per night than other generations.

The following are ways that experts have found sleep deprivation affects children.

>> The more children sleep the more time their bodies has to rest and fight germs.

>> Sleep affects how children store fat and burn calories, and can help children fight obesity. A tired body craves fatty foods, sweets and carbohydrates.

>> Lack of sleep can affect school performance. It is more difficult for a child to learn when he is tired. A child’s creativity and problem solving skills are also affected by lack of sleep.

When children don’t get enough sleep they have a difficult time controlling their impulses. Young children are more prone to tantrums and it may lead teens to substance abuse.

A very important part of school readiness is making sure your children get enough sleep. Before school starts set up a bedtime routine. Limit their extra-curricular activities during the school year and be sure to monitor their electronics.