As parents and caregivers, we all know that children who get a good night’s rest are far more pleasant and reasonable than those who haven’t. This may not be something you’ve considered before, but homeschooled children tend to have more opportunities to sleep longer than children who aren’t. This is yet another reason why homeschooling rocks!
The authors of Nurture Shock dedicate an entire chapter to sleep deprivation in children. They say that children today “get an hour less sleep each night than they did thirty years ago. . . . A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development” (30, 32). If correct, this would mean that your fourth-grader will think and behave like a second-grader with an hour less of sleep.
So, how much sleep do your children actually need?
The National Sleep Foundation suggests
- Toddlers ages 1 to 3 need 12-14 hours of sleep per day, including naps.
- Preschoolers ages 3 to 5 need 11-13 hours in a day.
- Children ages 5 to 12 need 10-11 hours per night.
- Teens need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours.
Sleep deprivation and teens
Sleep deprivation only worsens as kids get older, as they have more activities, events, and appointments. Circadian rhythms shift as students reach puberty. As a result, tweens and teens are unable to fall asleep as quickly as they used to. A teenager should sleep from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. in an ideal situation.
As a result of this research, some school districts have altered their start times. They’ve taken the advice of multiple studies that demonstrate that allowing teens to sleep a bit later in the morning improves their performance in various areas.
To assist their pupils’ sleep, homeschoolers can begin making adjustments as early as tomorrow by allowing your children to wake up when their bodies are ready, rather than when an alarm clock tells them to. More sleep for children of all ages (and adults) leads to improved health, mood, and learning ability.
I appreciate how homeschooling allows us to address our children’s needs in various ways, including enabling us to have a more flexible schedule. We are lucky to have the freedom to arrange our schedules so that our children get the rest they require.
What does sleep look like in your house? Are your kiddos getting enough sleep? If not, consider what you and your children could gain from some extra sleep. My children have enjoyed learning about the benefits of sleep in books like The Care and Keeping of You and the Boy’s Body Book. There are countless others such as What to Do When You Dread Your Bed: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems With Sleep (What to Do Guides for Kids). I hope this helpful information is encouraging and that you sleep well tonight!