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Healthy kids need…sleep

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Handy sleep advice for parents of tired kids. 

We all know sleep is important for our kids – but how much sleep do they actually need – and what can we do to encourage even the most reluctant child to get some much-needed shut-eye?

Research has linked lack of sleep in children to obesity, lack of concentration and behavioural issues. Hands up everyone who has abruptly left a restaurant mid-meal because of your child’s tired-induced meltdown; eating out later than your usual routine seemed like a great idea at the time, didn’t it?

According to the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep, your child (depending on their age) may need the following amount of sleep per day:
  • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours per 24 hour period
  • Primary school: 10 to 12 hours per day
  • High school: 8 to 10 hours per day.

Kids not getting enough sleep? Try the following:

  • Set a bedtime routine. Some quiet time one hour before bed time. Bath-time, reading and limiting strenuous activities and screen time can all help get your child ‘sleep-ready’. Try to keep the same bedtime routine on weekends and holidays where possible.
  • Ensure your child’s bedroom is comfortable and quiet. A nightlight might make them feel more secure. A member of the BakeSw@p team even found that letting her child choose his quilt cover made all the difference in suddenly wanting to go to bed!
  • Nutrition is important. The Sleep Health Foundation says a light snack before bed may help to settle grumbling tummies (however a child should not eat a heavy meal one to two hours before bed). Most kids love a warm drink of milk before bed – but if you have any great pre-bedtime snack ideas, share them with your BakeSw@p circle!  

If bedtime is still a struggle, don’t fear there are many places to go to for support. See your GP if you have concerns regarding night terrors, nightmares, snoring or bedwetting. They may refer you to a paediatrician or sleep clinic.

We also love the following resources for great sleep tips:

Sw@pTip: To help your child fall asleep earlier, gradually start the bedtime routine 15 minutes earlier every few days.  (Source: Raising Children Network).

Sw@pTip: Did you know 35 to 40 percent of children and adolescents experience some form of sleep problem during their development? (Source: Australian Centre for Education in Sleep).

Sw@pTip: Did you know children who don’t get enough sleep at night are more likely to become overweight or obese? (Source: Raising Children Network).

All advice is general in nature and the BakeSw@p team recommends you seek professional advice from your doctor or health practitioner regarding any concerns relating to your child

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