Back to school

Getting back on track at the start of the academic year

A recent survey suggested that because of summer holidays almost 50% of children were now going to bed later and waking later as well. This adjustment back into routine can be hard and ensuring that our children are getting enough sleep is also an important task too.

Adequate sleep is important for children to be receptive to learning; helping to develop increased concentration amounts and higher levels of motivation and lower levels of negative thought sequences. They will potentially process and retain information more quickly and be able to socialise and communicate with others better too. It is also found that sleeping better improves appetite regulation as well.

The amount of sleep that your child requires becomes slightly more defined as they get older, and they lose their nap-need and their entire quota for sleep is made up on overnight sleep. Of course many children will need more-some less, but I encourage families to “aim” somewhere in the recommended bandwidth so that you have something to work within and then judge yourself if by their mood, behaviour and eating patterns if they seem at their personal best.

Pre-school: 3-5 years-10-13 hours
School age 6-13 years- 9-11 hours
Teen 14-17 years-8-10 hours


If your child is 3 or older and still has a preference to nap then don’t worry, although many of their peers will not nap, many still will and provided that nap does not interfere with bedtime or overnight sleep then continue as long as they show a nap requirement. If in any doubt, see my content titled is your child done their nap.

Of course, this can take some time to establish and some of you will benefit from applying my stay and support approach to further increase their sleep ability both at bedtime and overnight, but as we head into this season, we are presented with a perfect opportunity to effect change.

Photo by olia danilevich: credit