How to Tell If Your Kids Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

Posted by Cindy Perry on 6/16/2016

is my child getting enough sleep

For many kids, it’s easy to tell when they’re tired. They rub their eyes, yawn, and eventually become fussy. (Hey, even adults become fussy when we’re kept up to long!) For some, however, the signs are more subtle. Here’s how you can tell if your child is getting enough sleep.

1. Evenings and afternoons are… stressful – If that 5 PM to 7 PM time frame is dreadful in your home, full of whining, irritability, refusals, and even screaming, it might be because your child is tired. Putting your toddler to bed isn’t the answer, or they’ll just be up super early. You might have cut the naps out too soon. Go back to a long afternoon nap or even two naps each day.

2. Child falls asleep during short car rides – If your child is falling asleep immediately in the car, he might be chronically tired. By age two, car rides shouldn’t immediately soothe your child to sleep anymore, so if it’s still happening, you may have a sleep issue.

3. Tantrums are a regular thing – All children have an outburst from time to time, but if you’re dealing with two, three or four each day, the underlying condition might be tiredness. As you know, irritability is exacerbated when we’re tired, so it’s easy for a sleepy child to fall into a tantrum.

4. You have to wake them up – Since children tend to fall asleep around 7:30 or 8 PM, they notoriously wake up early. Ideally, you shouldn’t be waking your child up in the morning. They should wake up when their bodies are naturally rested. Until about 11 years old, children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Count backwards from the hour your child needs to get up to determine what the bedtime should be.

5. Your child is subdued and lethargic – Young children are naturally animated and vocal. If your child is usually quite expressive, but suddenly seems quiet and unresponsive (doesn’t want to play games or chat), you probably have a sleepy child.

6. Your child is struggling in school – This one is for older children. If your child’s grades are slipping and they are forgetting basic tasks, like turning in the homework they completed, it could be a sleep issue.

7. Your child is especially clingy – When tired, children will often huddle near their parents. Eventually the clinginess becomes super-dependency (like asking you to do things you know they can do for themselves). This often means they are sleepy, but unable to sleep (maybe too much is going on around them) or they’re fighting the urge to sleep.

Helpful tip: Many parents these days are sleep-deprived themselves. This causes them to fail to notice the symptoms of tiredness in their children. They think regular yawning or irritability are normal. It’s a good idea to evaluate if you are getting enough sleep.

luxe floor pillowWritten by Cindy Perry, Inventor of the pello, Luxe Floor Pillows

Cindy, a Texas girl, put herself through college working at a children’s library and sewing at night. When she met her husband and had her two boys, she decided to stay home to care for them while designing window treatments and bedding.

When Cindy’s first son was learning to sit up, he would always fall through the pillows she set around him, hit his head, and cry. Besides, setting her child down on the hardwood floors on just a blanket always seemed so cold. Using her years of sewing and design skills, Cindy took inspiration from a woman in her breastfeeding class and got to work. With some scrap fabric and a few tweaks, pello was born! pello is a luxe floor pillow that helps children feel safe, warm and protected.

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Image: Flickr/Lars Plougmann