As I read my colleague, Andrea’s, recent post Is she sleeping through the night yet?, I chuckled to myself because, guess what? I’m still talking about sleep now that my babies are teens! They stay up late & sleep late…very LATE on the weekends. I know I did this as a teen, and should be able to relate, but now I’m the mother and wonder what I should be doing or saying.
Teens go through many changes, including rapid growth that requires extra sleep. However, their increasing independence and biological development are also turning them into night owls. Most teens often get less sleep than they really need.
On top of the biological changes, there are electronics, over scheduling, stress and anxiety that are all causing sleep concerns. This may affect their mood and in fact their actual day-to-day functioning. As a parent of a teen… What are we to do?
While you can’t force your teen to sleep, you can certainly influence and promote sleep:
- Talk about the importance of getting enough sleep. Help them identify between when they feel exhausted versus well rested.
- Negotiate bedtimes and help them create rituals that help them slow down and get to sleep
- Turn off cell phones, computers, or any other devices that can keep a teenager up all night or wake them in the middle of the night.
- Even better, keep these devices out of bedrooms when it is time to sleep.
- Keep in touch with teachers to see how your teen is functioning during the day. Are they falling asleep or dragging themselves through the day?
- Limit sleepovers. Young teens think they can do this every night in the summer or weekend evenings.
As parents of teens we need to be flexible and adapt to our growing kids. I know they still need my guidance even if they don’t show it openly, and hopefully I can guide them through this big stage of discovering more about who they are. It’s pretty amazing watching my kids develop into independent thinkers who challenge my thought processes, and I also love spending time with them and connecting in new ways.
To share your concerns about your kids becoming teens or for additional parenting information, you can:
- Leave us a comment below
- Tweet us: @haltonparents
- Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dial 311 (within Halton) or 905-825-6000 to talk with one of the public health nurses. We’re around Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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