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“Helping Your Child Learn”

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Parent tips from the Utah Education Association

Ready to Learn – Well Rested
By Beverlee A. Simpson, M.Ed., National Board Certified Teacher, language arts teacher at East High School, Salt Lake City

Research shows that students who are well-rested perform better in school. Elementary aged children need at least nine hours of sleep each night. Many parents may be surprised to learn that pediatricians suggest that teens get between eight and nine hours of sleep per night as well.

If your child has problems sleeping, here are some ideas that might help:

  • Establish a routine. Students should go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Have your child avoid drinks with caffeine.
  • Give your child the responsibility of going to sleep and waking up by him or herself–this builds self-reliance and confidence.
  • Make your child’s bed a “sleep-only” zone. No watching TV, using the computer, or even reading in bed.
  • If your child can’t fall asleep within 10-15 minutes, allow him to get up and read or write in a journal until he or she feels sleepy, once again, no TV or computer time.
  • If your teen consistently stays awake until the wee hours, continue to have him or her get up at a regular time; the pattern of falling asleep earlier will eventually be established.
  • Consult a pediatrician if your child has trouble sleeping for a prolonged period of time.