Waking Up to a New Day

Do you find yourself dreading the morning wake-up call? Does your child just burrow deeper into the covers when you gently say that it’s time to get up? And really, just how many times do you have to go back to your child’s bedroom to try to pull him into the world of awake, vertical people?

Let’s face it. Some kids, like adults, find it hard to wake up and start their day. It’s just the way their metabolism works. But some kids might find it easier to enter the upright world if they were getting the proper amount of sleep each night.

This is something that I’ve touched on before in this blog when I was talking about the busy schedules young families push through these days. As our world speeds up and activities fill more and more of the allotted 24 hours in each day, something has to give.

Unfortunately, quite often a family will find bedtime scooting a little bit later than usual. It doesn’t seem so bad at the time- a half-hour here, 45 minutes there, but the culmination of these minutes over a period of time can result in sleep deprivation for your child.

And, even for families who adhere to a strict bedtime rule, the switching of the clocks to daylight savings time can often wreak havoc on a little kid’s schedule. Some kids find it absolutely impossible to fall asleep while it’s still light outside.

So for these kids, even though bedroom lights are out by 8:00 p.m., daylight still filters in at the window, making it impossible for these kiddos to settle in to dream land.

While a secretary at Hawthorne School, I noticed that I could pick out the kids who needed more sleep without much trouble. Walking into a classroom to deliver a message, it would be obvious that some kids were just plain tired.

Slumping in chairs, unfocused looks and numerous other body language clues signaled that little Erin didn’t get enough sleep last night. On the playground, bickering with friends was another symptom of lack of sleep.

And then there were the kids who came to the office complaining of not feeling well. Sometimes their complaints were related to sleep deprivation. In these instances, they would fall asleep soon after laying down, and most often, felt a lot better upon waking.

So, just how much sleep does your child need? Of course, it varies from child to child but, according to an informative article on WebMD, on average kids ages 6-12 should be getting 10-11 hours of sleep each night.

Take a look at the following list of possible side effects of chronic sleep deprivation for your child:

  • A decline in academic performance
  • An impact on emotional stability
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Binge eating
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Poor decision making
  • Poor physical coordination

And the list goes on. It’s important to note that these side effects can occur after losing just one hour of sleep each night over a sustained period of time.

So what can a parent do to help balance a family’s busy lifestyle with the sleep needs of family members?

The simplest solution is to schedule a bedtime and stick to the schedule as closely as possible. Be aware that life often interferes with bedtime schedules so don’t be afraid to allow a little wiggle-room – maybe 15 to 30 minutes- from time to time.

If, however, you find yourself extending bedtime over and over again it’s time to come up with some other strategies that allow your family to finish the race each day with time left over to unwind before bedtime. The web site, Come to Order, has a nice streamlining strategy that made sense to me. Check it out here.

If this doesn’t sound like the right advice for you, just keep looking. There are many ways to accomplish streamlining a family schedule and there’s probably one out there that will really resonate with you.

Regarding the change to daylight savings time, it’s apparent that a different set of strategies might be necessary. Unfortunately, since this time transition happens twice a year you may find your child struggling with sleep issues both in the spring and the fall.

Last month, KING5 News interviewed Children’s Sleep Consultant, Rebecca Michi, and she offered some tips that may help your family cope with Daylight Savings Time. You can click here to view a video of that interview.

Hopefully, you can glean some info here that will help your kiddos be “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” as they enter the last stretch of this school year.

So that’s it for today- er, tonight. I’m off to bed to get my zzz’s! No sleep deprivation for me- or for you either, I hope. Take care and I’ll see you the next time you drop by.









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