What’s the importance of sleep?

A good night’s sleep is essential to feeling good, being able to learn and staying healthy. A lack of sleep can make you feel poorly, unable to learn and not want to go out with your friends and family. Here are some helpful tips to create a good routine: • Take some time to plan your routine and write it down. Work out what time it will start, this should be an hour before your child goes to sleep. Display the new routine somewhere where everybody in the home can follow it. • Do the same thing at the same time each day, including having a set wake up time each morning. We know this is difficult at the weekend, but it is important to have these set times to support your child’s body clock. • Turn off all screens at the start of the routine, they may supress the body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and make it more difficult to nod off. • Dim the lights in the hour before bed to encourage the production of melatonin, this will help to promote that sleepy feeling. • Younger children may enjoy a bedtime box, filled with a selection of activities to carry out during the routine. Hand eye co-ordination activities such as jigsaws, colouring and threading are great for promoting relaxation. Older children may prefer to read, play a board game or take part in a craft activity. • A bath 30 minutes before bed can help to promote sleep, the decrease in body temperature after a bath can help us to nod off more easily. • Once in bed sharing a story is a great way to end the day or older children may prefer to read independently. A bedtime routine is important in getting a good night’s sleep. A routine helps to support children’s body clock and aid relaxation. Consistency is key, sometimes sleep patterns may get worse before they get better. It is not uncommon to think that a new routine isn’t working but it is important to stick to it for at least two weeks in order to see results.

Do you know how much sleep your child needs?

The amount of sleep that your child is recommended to have is based upon their age. The NHS recommends the following amount of sleep.

Age Amount of sleep

5 Years old 11 hours

6 Years old 10 hours 45 mins

7 Years old 10 hours 30 mins

8 Years old 10 hours 15 mins

9 Years old 10 hours

10 Years old 9 hours 45 mins

11 Years old 9 hours 30 mind

12 and 13 Years old 9 hours 15 mins

14 and 16 Years old 9 hours

Avoid screens in the bedroom

Tablets, smartphones, TVs and other electronic gadgets can affect how easily children get to sleep. Older children may also stay up late or even wake in the middle of the night to use social media.

Try to keep your child's bedroom a screen-free zone and get them to charge their phones in another room. Encourage your child to stop using screens an hour before bedtime.

Your child's bedroom

Your child's bedroom should ideally be dark, quiet and tidy. It should be well ventilated and kept at a temperature of about 18 to 24 degrees. If you can, fit some thick curtains to block out any daylight.

If you have tried these tips, but your child is regularly having problems sleeping, you may feel that you need further support. You can speak with your GP or health visitor who may be able to provide additional information. Of course, you are also very welcome to speak to Mrs Rose at the Stay & Play Holiday Club.

Some ways in which you can build chill out time into your regular routine:

  • Make ‘down time’ a rule for everyone in the house.

  • Encourage good use of ‘down time’ by making new books available to read, introducing a new style of music to listen to or helping your child to learn a craft.

  • Don’t over fill your child’s week with organised clubs and activities.

  • Encourage good time-management techniques. Younger children can be shown how to learn a couple of spellings a night rather than leaving them all to the last minute, for example. Older children can learn to pack their bags the night before school or make a ‘to do’ list.

  • Try to eat together as a family as often as possible and ban phones and other devices from the table. Family meal time is a great time to talk and reflect on the day and share ideas.

  • Plan regular family activities such as a bike ride, movie night or trip to the local park.

  • Play board games or card games together. Teach your child the games you knew as a youngster and let them teach you their favourites.

  • Prioritise sleep. Younger children in particular benefit from a regular bedtime routine. Make late nights an exceptional treat, even at weekends.

  • Regularly review your child’s workload, to include school work, socialising time, clubs, sports and activities. Make sure that you continue to be able to achieve a daily spell of ‘down time’. As they get older, include them in this.

Who to contact if you have a concern about a child?

If you are worried about a child's safety please do not hesitate to contact any of the Designated Safeguarding Leads straight away.

The following members of staff are Designated Safeguarding Leads for Stay & Play Holiday Club:

  • Mrs H Rose (DSL)

  • Miss K Bithell (Deputy DSL)

They can be contacted via the Stay & Play Holiday Club, or by telephone on: 07841 460 360

You can also contact Hampshire Children's Services on:

  • 0300 555 1384 (office hours)

  • 0300 555 1373 (out of hours)

If a child is in immediate danger call the Police immediately on 999.

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