Having trouble getting your teen to bed at a decent hour and up in the morning? Moms like Circle of Moms member Artriani S. share your frustration. “I start trying to get them to bed at 10 p.m.," she explains. "But that’s just the time I tell them to go to bed, then they still have to do stuff and it’s already 11. Problem is they have to be ready to leave for school at 6:30 a.m.” To help solve this common dilemma, here are five tactics Circle of Moms members use to help their teens get adequate sleep.
1. Start a Routine for Unwinding
Moms like Laura N. advise setting a time for your teen to be in bed, but also letting him read for a little while beyond the bed time. She relays: “I have a 12-year-old son, and shower time is 8:30, bed by 9 p.m. and lights out at 9:30. This gives him some reading time in bed to unwind. He's well rested and up and ready [to] roll at 7 a.m.” Creating this type of nighttime routine will help signal to the body that it’s time for bed.
2. Mandate a Number of Sleep Hours
Some moms find the best strategy is to suggest (or mandate) a minimum amount of hours that their teen must be in bed and sleeping. Charlene tells her teen that he needs to get at least nine hours. "Every child is different with how much sleep they need, my son needs at least nine, used to be 11 hours."
Lori L. does the opposite, limiting the number of hours her teens can sleep in the afternoon so that they will sleep well at night. "I have two teens and they seem to nap for an awfully long time in the afternoons," she says. "I know they are busy and get up very early, but I have to limit the naps otherwise they can't get up."
3. Let Their Behavior Be Your Guide
Since the amount of sleep needed can vary from child to child, other moms suggest not shooting for a specific number of hours, but rather letting your teen's behavior determine his bed time. As Circle of Moms member Yvonne H. shares: “Your kids’ behavior will let you know if they are getting enough sleep."
Karen P. agrees: "It really depends on how much sleep your child needs...I have my 10-year-old go to bed anywhere between 8:30 and 9 p.m. however she gets to read until she is ready to go to sleep. She is generally asleep by 9:30. Often she is still up at 10 p.m. If so I turn lights out. On the weekends, unless we have something planned for the next days I will let her step up until 10 p.m. for sure."
4. Avoid Stimulants Before Bed
In a Circle of Moms article on the best sleep times for teens, moms recommend steering your teen away from stimulants in the late afternoons and evenings. This means avoiding food and drinks that contain caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) and avoiding bright lights (including televisions and computer screens) right before bed time.
5. Focus on Good Nutrition
The reality is that no matter how hard moms try, many teens like to be nocturnal and find all kinds of ways to avoid sleeping. When all else fails, focus on good nutririon, say moms like Tricia N., and make sure they take their vitamins!
How do you get your teens to sleep?
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