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?