Weekdays can be hectic for school-aged children, who are often faced with the task of balancing school, homework, and after-school activities. With all that on a kid’s plate, it’s no wonder sleep quality and quantity often takes a hit.
Students in the early elementary school years have three times the suggested amount of homework, a 2015 study found. While some school districts across the country are placing limitations on assignments in an attempt to ease the burden of homework, some students may still struggle to shoulder the daily workload.
The stresses of school can adversely affect sleep and academic performance, but giving your child the tools they need to manage stress can help them sleep more soundly and shine more brightly during the day.
What parents can do
Here are a few ways to help your child cope with the stresses of school in order to sleep more soundly at night, according to the sleep experts at Sleep.org, a sleep education website by the National Sleep Foundation.
- Teach them time management skills. Help your child learn how to budget their time by having them use a planner to track homework and divide their time. Teach them the value of chipping away at a project a little bit every night instead of scrambling to complete it the night before it’s due. More sleep will be a welcomed byproduct of good time management skills.
- Provide a quiet study area. A distraction-free zone in which to do homework is a must. The presence of a TV or the temptation to play video games can be a diversion, but a peaceful place to study can help kids knock out homework quickly and efficiently (which will free up more time for play and sleep).
- Don’t overschedule them. Calendars chock-full of club meetings, sports practices, and other activities can be overwhelming to kids. Ask your child if they feel too bogged down by school demands and scale back the number of extracurricular activities if necessary. Kids should be given enough time for fun and rest.
- Practice good sleep habits. Sleep deprivation can have negative consequences on health, but having kids gradually calm down before bedtime can help set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Give your child a firm bedtime, then use the 30 to 60 minutes prior to bedtime for a relaxing bedtime routine.