Is your tween getting enough sleep?
Did you know tweens should still be getting 9-11 hours of sleep every night? Even teens should still be getting 8-10. Most tweens and teens are only averaging 7 hours of sleep per night.
Lack of sleep is usually a huge factor in our house for attitude problems.
And that includes the adults.
Most tweens and teens aren’t getting anywhere near enough sleep. With after-school activities eating further and further into our evenings. Homework, social media, internet, video games, and tv. Kids are freakin’ tired.
I know when I don’t sleep enough, I’m cranky, foggy and dizzy.
Feeling that way doesn’t help kids do well in school, perform in sports or get along with others. Lack of sleep may also contribute to depressive symptoms.
Sleep problems affect jobs, relationships and driving.
So what can you do to help your tween get more sleep?
These tips will help your tween create good sleep habits that can help them throughout their lifetime.
Use a nighttime routine.
Knowing what to expect and following the routine makes for an easier transition to bedtime.
Incorporate snacks, reading time and time to wash up.
If mornings are also a challenge, getting their school bags and outfits for the next day ready can be included too.
A set bedtime as part of their nightly routine is key.
If your tween needs to be up at 7 to be ready for school, then it’s lights out at 8:30 if you’re shooting for 10 hours. This figures in time to fall asleep and a few trips and excuses out of the room cuz who says that ever stops. 😉
It gets so much harder when it’s still light out and your tween needs closer to 11 hours and you still do evening sports.
But it can work. If you’re committed to finding what is contributing to the attitude.
Maybe most nights you continue with an early bedtime and on activity/sports nights it’s moved a bit later.
I know how it is. They end up needing a shower. They need a snack. I know, I have three kids. It can be a pain in the ass. We did baseball one fall and half the time we weren’t even getting home until after 8. You either eat dinner at 3:30 or at 9.
An alternate system for those nights to get them in bed as quick as possible also helps. Try some different things and see what works for your family.
Can they do their nightly reading in the car on the way home? Maybe that’s when they squeeze in a snack.
Maybe it’s a different morning routine to let them sleep a bit longer. Only you know what you can make work.
Maybe they don’t have to participate in a sport or activity at that time of day.
I’m all for sports and other activities, but do you know how many parents I talk to who sound more like they’re the ones that want their kids to participate? The kids don’t even want to be there.
Now that’s not everybody but what are your options?
Could you do something else at a different time?
Last spring my son played flag football. Games were only on Sunday for 1 hour with a 1-hour practice right before the game. Always in the same place. No conflicts with homework or dinner. No traveling to different cities. It was great.
Keeping kids sleep routine consistent even on weekends and vacations help too. It can seem like a good idea to let them sleep extra late on the weekends to help them catch up but it really makes things a whole lot worse because their bodies get even more confused.
Get electronics that keep them awake out of their room.
When you finally do get home, or the evenings when you stay in. The screens are everywhere.
Whether you keep them out of their rooms altogether or remove them at bedtime is up to you, but at least have them off once the bedtime routine begins. An hour or more before that is even better.
The light from screens interferes with the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps people get sleepy. Puberty causes melatonin to be released later than usual. Up to two hours. That’s part of the reason they don’t want to go to sleep, they really aren’t tired yet. Melatonin also stays in their system into the morning, so that’s why it’s so hard to drag them out of bed.
NOTE** Giving over the counter melatonin is not recommended for children or teens.
In our family, I’m not good about being the “screen police” but we found more screen time = more fighting EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Everyone has their own opinion on screen time. That’s a personal family choice. But when it interferes with sleep the answer is easy.
The amount and the content are up to you. But if you at least make a time of night that it stops, preferably at least an hour before bed and that it stays off until morning, at least they will be getting a proper night’s sleep.
Try using an automatic wifi shut off that links to their device. Many wifi service providers have this in the parental settings. Less screen time is optimal but the reality is it’s become part of society.
If they have to use computers for homework, make homework a priority as soon as they get home from school. Even though they’ve been at school all day, leaving it until later when they’ve had a chance to wind down makes them less likely to be motivated to do it, at least in my house anyway. After a quick snack, it’s time to dig in.
Compromise is key when dealing with tweens and teens. With computers being necessary for school and work as well as phones keeping us connected with friends and family screens aren’t going anywhere so we need to do what we can to adapt. Try these glasses to help with screen use.
Add sleep enhancement products to their room.
Is light coming in from the window? Room darkening curtains help keep it out as well as keeping the room cooler during hot summer days and warmer in the winter.
Do they have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep? Try a diffuser. We have two of these. It has made a tremendous difference in our house since my daughter has always had trouble sleeping. Our kids like a combination of lavender and rosemary. In addition to making the room smell good, those scents make them sleepy and help with anxiety. It also has a light, for our daughter who hates the dark.
Are sounds from the other room or outside keeping them awake? Maybe a white noise machine is an answer? We have a free one on our android phone called Relaxio. It has 16 different sounds like rain, the ocean, and even traffic.
Blankets like these, offer a comforting hug like feeling while helping you fall asleep faster and sleep better. Weights differ depending upon body size.
InnoGear 2nd Version Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Ultrasonic Diffusers Cool Mist Humidifier with 7 Colors LED Lights and Waterless Auto Shut-off for Home Office Bedroom RoomAdaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds and Sleep TimerQuility Premium Adult Weighted Blanket & Removable Cover | 20 lbs | 60”x80” | for Individual Between 190-240 lbs | Full Size Bed | Premium Glass Beads | Cotton/Minky | Grey/Navy Blue
Okay, your turn. What do you do in your house to help kids get better sleep?