Four tips to help your child get a good night’s sleep

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It's hard to believe another school year is already here. After a fun summer of outdoor activities, vacations and plenty of late nights, it's time to get your family back into a routine - specifically a regular bedtime routine. While sleep is important for adults, it's even more important for growing children and affects their performance in school, sports and family life.

Sleep is at the center of a healthy lifestyle. Although diet and exercise are what come to mind first when thinking about health, proper sleep is essential to realizing the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Children who followed bedtime rules averaged an hour more of sleep a night, helping them concentrate and perform better in school, according to a 2014 study by the National Sleep Foundation. Here are a few ways you can help stop the stall at bedtime:

1) Keep a bedtime routine for your kids, even on the weekends.

2) One hour before it's time to go to bed, put all electronics away to help children wind down. Use that time to spend together as a family, possibly reading before bed.

3) Try tracking your kids' sleep and help them monitor their daily activities to see how these affect their rest.

4) Most importantly, try to keep bedtime a fun experience. Avoid using "Go to your room" and an early bedtime as punishments, as this equates bedtime to a negative.

Kids need much more sleep than most people realize, and the quality of sleep is equally as important as the quantity.

Most Americans think kids need only nine hours of sleep each night, according to a recent survey by Wakefield Research. While eight or more hours are ideal for an adult, the recommended amount for children 5 to 11 years old is 10-11 hours per night.

Many parents know the difficulties that come with trying to get children to go to sleep. You've probably heard the common excuses such as, "I have a stuffy nose" or "there are monsters under my bed" as a way to stay up just a little longer.

Back to school is the perfect time to start practicing healthy sleep habits for the whole family. A successful day starts with a good night's sleep, so help your little ones get to sleep tonight so they can take on the world tomorrow.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015