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Happy and successful students tend to be well-rested students. In Las Vegas, elementary school-age children vary in the amount of sleep they get. Some parents stick to early bedtimes, while others insist that their children are fine if they stay up late.
The reality, however, is that children do need a lot of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published guidelines on children and sleep, which the American Academy of Pediatrics then endorsed. The report stated that 6- to 12-year-olds should get nine to 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Adequate sleep helps them to function well at school.
Live Science has reported that school-age children spend large amounts of their sleep time in a restorative slumber. This helps to keep them alert in class later in the day. Less sleep translates to less focus, more challenges in regulating emotions, reduced attention and memory, and other problems.
What if My Child Just Isn’t Tired?
“What if my child just isn’t tired?” It’s an easy question to ask, but it’s also an easy question to answer. The more established a bedtime routine, the more likely a child will go to bed and fall asleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages nightly three B’s for younger kids: brush, book, bed. First, clean those teeth, then read together, then turn the lights out.
Sticking to this routine—or one like it—develops a healthy rhythm. Soon, sleep should come more easily to the child.
More Bedtime Strategies
Older kids may ask to watch some TV, work on a laptop, or play with a tablet before bed. Consider limiting or eliminating screen time entirely in the half hour prior to lights out. In fact, the official medical recommendation is keeping screens altogether out of kids’ bedrooms. Light from screens can be stimulating—different from a more soothing bedside lamp to illuminate the pages of a book.
For children who are especially squirrelly, anxious, or tense, a weighted blanket may be a good idea. Although weighted blankets are slowly starting to gain more media attention, people have been exploring them as a calming aid for years. A 2008 study in the Occupational Therapy in Mental Health journal included statistics showing that the strategy lowered anxiety. It also had other healthy benefits.
One mom’s personal story about her son using a weighted blanket affirmed its de-stressing effects. Her account also included a quote from her son, saying it helped him to go to sleep.
The Education Connection
When children are more alert and awake thanks to a good night’s rest, they are more ready to learn and retain what they experience. CONTACT US at Innovation Academy to find out more about how home and school life connect.
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