You might take a few deep breaths before telling your kids that they have to adjust to an earlier bedtime. It really is a process. You know there’s going to be whining and begging to stay up for just one more commercial break. But you know they do not need to fight the sleepiness with their gadgets or for whatever reason.
A good night’s sleep for kids has been proven to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. One study found that kids who had no proper bedtime routine at age nine had shorter self-reported sleep duration and higher than normal BMI when compared to those children with age-appropriate bedtimes.
An article from Sleep.org addresses the notion that a late bedtime isn’t necessarily going to result in the child sleeping later in the morning — it will likely just result in a cranky child, particularly if this isn’t part of their regular routine. Having an age-appropriate bedtime and sufficient sleep may lead to a healthier and happier teen.
Sleep needs must be addressed, especially with kids. To help improve sleep routines, Let’s dive into healthy sleep habits that will ensure the sleep quality and well-being of kids of all ages.
Recommended sleep times
A study shows that more than a third of kids between 4 months and 17 years old are getting less sleep than is recommended. We know that’s not right. The last thing we want is for young children to experience sleep problems during the daytime and for their health to be affected in the long run.
And no, the solution is not extra weekend sleep, because that is basically a sign of chronic weekday sleep deprivation.
The amount of sleep a child need varies. Here is when your little ones should go to bed depending on their age, as suggested by the National Sleep Foundation. While sleep patterns vary from person to person, at the end of the day, your child must get the recommended amount of sleep.
Based on these hours, it’s obvious that your kids need to follow an early bedtime a
Newborns (up to three months): 10.5 to 18 hours of sleep throughout the day and night. Newborns have an irregular sleep and wake pattern. They have not developed their circadian rhythm, and they typically sleep in short spurts of two to four hours. In order to develop a routine with them, place them in the crib when you notice that they’re drowsy, rather than already sleeping. That way, they associate the crib with sleep. New babies
Infants (four to 11 months): 9 to 12 hours of sleep during the night. The National Sleep Foundation suggests developing regular daytime and bedtime schedules in infants. At this age, the infant might experience separation anxiety when placed in a separate bed. Make sure to create a sleep-friendly environment with stuffed animals, soft sheets, and dark shades that encourages comfortable rest.
Toddlers (one to two): 11 to 14 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period. This includes naps throughout the day. At this age, toddlers may experience nighttime awakenings or poor sleep. When this occurs, encourage the use of a security object such as a stuffed animal or blanket to help them feel safe in their own bed.
Preschoolers (three to five): 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night. At this age, a consistent bedtime for young children is key. That means making sure the preschooler maintains the same bedtime routine in the same room every night.
School-age (six to 13): 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep is important for a school-age child who may be participating in more activities during the day. But this is also the age where the child becomes enamoured with TV, sugar, and caffeine products. The National Sleep Foundation says that watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep, and sleeping fewer hours.
As this age group is dependent on wake-up time for school, it is obvious to count backwards from wake time to find the bedtime that ensures they get enough sleep.
How to make sure your kids get a good night’s sleep:
Regular Bedtime Routine
A regular bedtime routine is established by the parent. You know what works best and what doesn’t. A common routine may be to turn the TV off, then have your child brush their teeth, brush their hair, and go to the toilet. Then you might sit with them in bed and read a bedtime story or have a quiet chat. Say goodnight and turn the lights off. Whatever the process, it should be a regular routine each night, including the weekends.
Turn Off Electronics Before Bed
Reducing screen time and blue light before bed is especially important for children. Research shows that light from the television, phone, or computer screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, which we know is important for a good night’s sleep. There should be some time and separation between turning the TV off and hopping into bed. Making the bedroom a screen-free zone is a good idea if your child is having difficulty falling asleep.
Avoid Sugar Late in the Day
Of course, we know that sugar and caffeine can turn our kids into crazed little monsters who have more energy than the Tasmanian Devil. When it comes to dessert (because we all have a dessert stomach) opt for fresh fruit with a little bit of honey or dark chocolate-dipped strawberries. Possibly try introducing herbal tea to help them focus on calming down rather than going straight to bed after dinner.
Reduce Focus On Sleep
When it comes to a child’s bedtime, shift the focus to relaxing rather than going to sleep. Try some good night yoga for little ones to help them focus on calming down rather than going straight to bed.
Create a Cozy Sleep Environment
Lack of sleep can also be attributed to an uncomfortable sleep environment. Of course, you’ll want a soft and comfortable mattress to get your child excited to sleep in their own bed. Add fluffy pillows, stuffed animals, and soft sheets to the bed area. Keep their room a little cooler as it helps promote better sleep. A quiet, cool, and dark bedroom is the recipe for a good night’s sleep.