Class helps parents get their kids to sleep

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

It can be tough to get kids to bed on time, much less getting them to actually sleep. Now parents having trouble with kids’ bedtime routines and sleeping habits can take &8220;Sleepless in America,&8221; a community education class based on the book by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

&8220;Parents will gain a knowledge of bedtime routines, knowing what disrupts sleep patterns and knowing what, during the day, can interrupt a good nights’ sleep,&8221; said Mary Jo Volkman, Parent Educator with Early Childhood Family Education.

A good night’s sleep starts in the morning. When a family starts out calm and connected, they can maintain that throughout the day, allowing for a set wake-up time and set meal schedules.

&8220;Then by the time it becomes evening, you can create a routine that sets the tone for going into sleep,&8221; Volkman said.

Often there’s a &8220;window&8221; for sleep, and if parents miss the signs showing kids are tired, it could be 90 minutes before the kids can get to sleep.

Kids also need more sleep than adults. Infants need 14 to 18 hours a day, toddlers need 13 hours a day, preschoolers 12 and school age kids need 10 to 11 hours of sleep every single day. Even teenagers should be getting a little more than nine hours of sleep a day.

Some kids misbehave because they need more sleep.

&8220;Those tantrums and the meltdowns, maybe they’ve missed their naps, maybe they’re short on sleep from the night before,&8221; Volkman said.

Kids can even pick up their parents’ tension and anxieties as well as learning their sleep habits.

Parents who come to the &8220;Sleepless&8221; class will do activities and learn some ways to help their child get a good night’s sleep.

(Contact community education at 379-4834 for information on the class.)