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4 Questions To Ask Before You Set Your Child’s Bedtime

How much sleep does your child really need?

Determining a child’s bedtime is going to be highly dependent on your family’s schedule.  Sleep is very important for a growing body.  I hope this article will help you determine a healthy and appropriate bedtime for your child.

Why Is Sleep Important?

First, let’s talk about why sleep is so important.  Sleep plays a major role in the physical well being of your child. It also plays the same vital role in your health.    Sleep is involved in the constant repairing of the body that needs to take place on a daily basis.  A lack of sleep can put your child at risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, infections, and many other diseases.  Let’s just say, that sleep is very crucial for the well being of your child.

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

Now that we know how important sleep is, it will be helpful to determine how much sleep your child will need.  Each individual is going to require a unique amount  of sleep, but in general the following is a good guideline:

  1. Toddlers aged 1 to 2 years should get 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day.
  2. Preschoolers aged 3 to 5 years should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day.
  3. Children aged 6 to 13 years of age should get 9 to 11 hours of sleep per day.
  4. Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours sleep per night.
  5. Most adults need around 8 hours sleep per night. (I put this in here so that you might consider getting the proper amount of sleep)

What Time Should My Child Go To Bed?

By using the guidelines listed above you can tailor a sleep schedule that meets your needs.  For example if your school aged child needs 10 hours of sleep, then first figure out what time they need to get up.  Next count back that many hours to determine when he or she should go to bed.  For example if your 6 year old needs to get up at 6AM in order to catch the school bus on time, you’ll want to make sure that they are in bed by 8PM. That would allow them to fall within the recommended daily allowance of sleep at 10 hours. Some children will need more and some might need a bit less.

In our home, I like to let my child sleep in just to be on the safe side of things. We also might have more flexibility than most families because we homeschool.  I like that she wakes up refreshed and ready to go get the day.  This is not always possible if it’s Sunday church day or if we have an early morning craft show on a Saturday.  On the days that she needs to get up earlier, I make sure that she goes to bed earlier. It’s actually a simple little formula.  The important thing is to stick to it and enforce it.  Going to bed is not the most popular topic for most kids, but it’s for their own good.

How Do I Get My Child To Bed On Time Without a Major Issue Each Night?

  1.  Routine is going to be the key.  Try to get your child to bed around the same time each night. Follow a routine, that involves a time to start getting ready.  A time to brush their teeth, put on pajamas, read a bedtime story and so on.  Routine is going to be the key here.
  2. A relaxing bath can work wonders.  Warm water makes any tired body more relaxed and ready for bed.  Bath time right before bed not only ensures that your child goes to bed clean, but it also should send them off to dreamland easier.
  3. Regular exercise is proven to help kids sleep better.  Make sure your child’s exercise or physically active playtime is not right before bed or they may feel too wound up to fall asleep.
  4. Avoid caffeine and meals right before bedtime.  Try warm milk instead of pop if they want a before bed drink. Definitely avoid sugary foods, or you will have a kid who is bouncing off the walls instead of wanting tucked in.

Final Thoughts:

I hope this little guideline with tips helped you determine a good sleeping schedule for your child.  For families of multiple children you will have to adjust to accommodate each age.  The youngest may complain that they have to go to bed the earliest.  Reassure them that soon they will be older and can slowly stay up a little later each night.

For tips on what to do when your child is falling behind in school, we have your tips here. 

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