Everyone knows that for adults it is very important to get a good night's sleep in order to be a fully functioning, healthy individual, and it is no different for children. It's a well documented fact that kids who get a full, restful sleep at night are able to better complete the tasks they need to when they are awake during the day. And it has been shown, not surprisingly, that the children who have problems sleeping are the children who are more likely to get into trouble and develop a bad set of behavioral issues such as antisocial behavior and depression. While it is true that like most things that apply to individuals, there is not golden mean for everyone's actual needed amount of sleep, it is widely agreed upon that the vast majority of children need to receive between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night. To decide whether or not your child is getting enough sleep, there are some simple things you can test. If while going to sleep you child takes anywhere from a quarter of an hour to a half an hour to go to sleep, it is a good indication that he or she is getting enough sleep.
If your child wakes up in the morning full or energy, and maintains that level of energy throughout the day, that is another good indication that the amount of sleep he or she is getting is sufficient. If these things are not the case, you can try to help you child get more sleep. Make an effort to inform him or her about the necessity of sleep, not only to not be tired, but in order that he or she be able to function as a complete, normal individual at school and in achieving goals. Remember that sleep is like food. Good sleep can be beneficial, but bad sleep can harm you. Good sleep is characterized by routine, so it is important to instill the value of routine in your children.
Routine makes life predictable, and can really improve on a child's ability to finish tasks and engage the world in a meaningful way. You can help to encourage your child to value routine by having a specific way that you go about putting them to bed. This can be anything from the fabled bedtime story to a light snack before heading off to bed. As long as it is repeated every day, then it will help establish an order to things that will aid your child in going to sleep.
As with the placebo effect, there is a psychosomatic response to routine, and your child may become drowsy just by performing the routines that you have outlined for them. Another important thing is to make the process of sleep fun. Children enjoy things that are fun, as we all do, so you will be more likely to succeed in convincing them to sleep well if you make it enjoyable for them.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as a kid's music CD at http://www.personalizedcds4kids.com