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Tips and resources for healthy family routines -- for your mornings, during your daily schedule, and on to bedtime.

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WebMD Expert Discussion: Sleep: Does Your Child Get Enough?

In WebMD's online discussion about Healthy Family Routines, guest parenting expert Tanya Altmann, MD, states that, in her house, bedtime is 8 p.m. Half an hour before, the kids are summoned upstairs for their nightly routine: a bath or a shower, putting on PJs, brushing teeth, bedtime stories, and lights out by 8.

Regular sleep schedules are important for kids, says Altmann. A regular sleep schedule helps children sleep longer and wake up less often during the night, nourishing their developing brains with plenty of rest.

We all know that babies need a lot of sleep. But these days, kids are frequently not getting as much as they need. Children from 6 to 12 years old still need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep a night, Altmann says. She advises choosing a bedtime between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and fine-tuning it based on your child’s age and behavior. If your child is still cranky in the morning, they need to get to bed earlier.

One mom notes that her 2 and one-half year-old son only sleeps from 8:45 p.m. to 6 a.m., with a half-hour nap, which seems to her like too little sleep. His bedtime routine is battle-free and he’s not cranky during the day. And her pediatrician told her that some kids just need less sleep than others.

Another mom sends her 4- and 5-year-old sons to bed at 7:30 p.m., and they get up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. Any less sleep than that, she reports, and they get cranky during the day. Like Altmann, she maintains a consistent bedtime routine that helps preserve their sleep.

What bedtime routines do you use to help your children get the sleep they need?

Discussion led by Tanya Altmann, MD Guest Expert
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Guest Expert What is a guest expert?

Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP, is a best-selling author, a working mother, and a UCLA-trained pediatrician, practicing in Southern California.

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Healthy Family Poll

Which of these family routines is the most challenging?

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