When Is Your Child’s Bedtime?

Suggest sleep bedtimesMany parents face the eternal struggle of making sure their children get the right amount of sleep.  It can be especially difficult during the school year with the early wake times and the numerous activities the children could be involved in.  The topic of bedtime can be a touchy subject and every parent has a different view on when bedtime should be for their children.

A teacher at Wilson Elementary in Kenosha, Wisconson created a chart of suggested bedtimes based on a child’s age and when he or she needs to be awake.  The chart is below:

Suggest Bedtime

Based on the chart, many parents are surprised by how early the suggested bedtimes are.  For some families, they have every intention of an early bedtime but somehow children are very gifted in delaying it.

To compare the chart to another source, we have included some information from WebMD:

Suggested amount of sleep a child needs

3-6 Years Old: 10 – 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 – 11 hours per day
12-18 Years Old: 8 – 9 hours per day

Here is some additional information from WebMD that may be useful:

  • Children do not “outgrow” sleep problems; problems must be solved
  • Children who sleep longer during the day have longer attention spans
  • Babies who sleep less in the daytime appear more fitful and socially demanding, and they are less able to entertain or amuse themselves
  • Small but constant deficits in sleep over time tend to have escalating and perhaps long-term effects on brain function
  • For ADHD children, improvements in sleep dramatically improved peer relations and classroom performance
  • Children with higher IQs – in every age group studied – slept longer
  • Healthy rest positively affects neurologic development and appears to be the right medicine for the prevention of many learning and behavioral problems

Source: Webmd

One thing to note is that every child is different and therefore may not require the same amount of sleep.  Also, in the real world, sleep times don’t necessarily decrease by 15 minutes each year.

So how do you know if your child is getting enough sleep?  The Cleveland Clinic has some questions for you to ask yourself:

  • Does my child need to be awakened three to four times before actually getting out of bed?
  • Does my child complain of being tired throughout the day?
  • Does my child take an afternoon nap?
  • Does my child need catch-up sleep on the weekends?

Source: Cleveland Clinic

They suggest that if you answered yes to any of the questions above, your child may not be getting enough sleep.  So what are some tips to help your child establish healthy sleeping habits?

  • Aim for a bedtime that allows your child to get at least​ 10 hours to 11 hours of sleep. If your child is not going to bed early enough, make bedtime earlier by 15 minutes to 20 minutes every few days.
  • Set a regular sleep schedule. Your child’s bedtime and wake-up time shouldn’t vary by more than 30 minutes to 45 minutes between weeknights and weekends.
  • Start scheduling a regular wake-up time one week before school starts.
  • Create a bedtime routine – yes, even for older children – that is calming and sets the mind​ for sleep.
  • Turn off electronic screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks, particularly in the second half of the day.
  • Help your child get ready for sleep by making sure he or she is getting enough physical activity throughout the day. Aim for at least one full hour of physical activity. Outdoor play, particularly in the morning, is helpful because exposure to natural light helps to keep your child’s circadian rhythm in sync.
  • As with many habits, it’s essential to set a good example by making sleep a priority for yourself.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

We hope that this information provides useful suggestions and tips to help your children get the right amount of sleep!