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Sleep plays a vital role in children’s development, as an adequate amount promotes alertness, memory, performance, and can also repair immunity function. The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) may have disrupted proper sleep patterns, as most people are staying home more than usual. As everyone adjusts, it is important to observe your children’s behaviour and sleep schedule.
Sleep is critical and without it, children can experience being drowsy throughout the day, and even develop sleep disorders. According to Alberta Health Services, poor sleep quality affects 1 in 4 children.
Not receiving enough quality sleep can lead to daytime consequences in areas of:
All of these can influence academic functioning as well.
The amount of sleep depends on the age of the child, as the younger in age will require more sleep.
|Age||Hours of Sleep|
|0 – 2 months||10.5 – 18|
|2 – 12 months||14 – 15|
|1 – 3 years||12 – 14|
|3 – 5 years||11 – 13|
|5 – 12 years||10-11|
Sleep disorders such as insomnia, restless legs syndrome (RLS), Narcolepsy, Parasomnias, to name a few, develop due to lifestyle choices. However, Community Education Service’s latest webinar hosted by Rona Kertesz, MA, Provisional Psychologist, presented strategies to promote healthy sleep for children.
A child who is able to fall asleep on their own will be able to sleep during normal nighttime awakenings. Bedtime routines can make it easier for your child to relax, and sleep throughout the night. Take into consideration how old they are, and adjust accordingly. Remember to also keep it short, relaxing, and consistent.
By establishing a scheduled routine whether waking up or going to bed at the same time, it will not only help your child with adapting but as well facilitate normality during the pandemic.
Using a sleep diary to track activity can help with determining how much sleep your child needs (bed time and wake time). In a sleep diary, start with recording the current sleep and wake times. Be consistent! Record if you notice any daytime consequences then adjust by 15 minutes – max. On a weekly basis, keep adjusting sleep and wake time as needed.
Often health conditions and sleep disorders such as nightmares, etc can lead to difficulties sleeping. Things to watch out for include: