Just 20 minutes. That’s all the extra sleep your kids may need to focus better at school. But parents also need to keep after-school activities in check.
Leah and Natalie Greenacre love cheerleading, but on top of other activities, homework, and a never-ending morning routine, their mom called a timeout.
“They were much harder to get up, much crankier, and I wasn’t sure why until I realized that they weren’t getting enough sleep,” said their mother, Dena Greenacre.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says nearly nine out of 10 kids go to bed after 9 p.m., which is too late. Experts say kids need around 10 hours of sleep every night, and when they don’t get it, watch out.
“Many children will fall asleep in class, they’re harder for parents to get them up in the morning," said Dr. Kathleen Armstrong, the Director of Pediatric Psychology at the University of South Florida. "They’re irritable; many of the children have short attention spans when they’re not getting enough sleep. They may cry more easily, and they certainly can’t focus on their work."
Catching more Z’s often leads to more A’s. Adding those 20 extra minutes of sleep can mean better grades in school. To do this, parents need to learn how to set limits on screen time, as well as after-school activities.
“I do think we over-schedule kids today. Kids, like adults, need to have down time every day where they can just play and relax,” said Armstrong.
Now that school districts in our area are adjusting start times to help your kids get the rest they need, it's important not to let that translate into later bedtimes.
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