Sleep might just be the key to unlocking their potential!
It's shocking to hear that 4 out of 10 children in Singapore are sleep deprived!1
My friend, who is a teacher, recently asked her students (7-9 years old) about their sleep patterns and discovered that most are sleeping 7-8 hours a night when they should be sleeping 9-12 hours (see table below). It's no wonder that so many kids struggle with focusing and irritability.
I don't know you, but I can totally relate to not feeling like myself when I'm short on sleep. I've noticed that many parents I work with have complaints about their children's lack of focus and irritability. When I ask about sleep habits, it's usually clear that they aren't getting the amount of sleep recommended.
Sleep deprivation should be taken seriously. Sleep deprivation for your child (and yourself) can lead to:
Lack of focus
Difficulty regulating emotions
Heightened anxiety and depression
Increased risks of accidents and injuries
Greater risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Here is how much your child should sleep based on their age (it includes naps)2
Now you might be saying, “I know sleep is important, but I'm so busy. I can't think of ways to help my child get more sleep’’.
Behold, here are some tips that might help:
First and foremost, prioritize sleep - for your child, but also for yourself. Nothing is better than leading by example. Put the Netflix binges aside and focus on the most important thing - getting enough rest.
Limiting exposure to electronics is a great way to ensure your little one has enough time to wind down before bed - try to keep screens out of reach two hours before bedtime, and provide plenty of alternative activities (books, toys...) to keep them entertained.
Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is a big help in establishing a healthy sleep pattern - try to keep bedtimes and wake-up times the same, even on weekends.
Eating a big meal just before bed can be disruptive, so try to give your child dinner about two to three hours beforehand, and if necessary, offer a light snack before bed.
Creating a bedtime routine can help too - (e.g. brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, reading a book, and saying goodnight) - can all help your child drift off to dreamland.
Finally, keep the room dark and cool - it's all too easy for it to get too hot in tropical climates, so try to keep the temperature at a comfortable level.
So, could more sleep be the answer to “crankiness” and lack of focus? It just might. We all know how important it is for our little ones to get enough rest - it's essential for their physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being. Make sure to add sleep to your list of priorities and create a routine to ensure a good night's sleep.
Lastly, if you are struggling to help your child get more sleep, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional for expert advice and support!