Our children are our greatest treasure, so naturally, we always want to do what is best for them. One of the things we need to make sure is that they get the proper amount of sleep. But determining the correct time to send them off to bed can be somewhat problematic.
When you spend the better part of the day at work, once you get home, obviously you want to spend as much time with your little ones as possible. This can sometimes result in them going to bed a bit too late and then the next day they are grumpy and tired and lacking the energy to make it to the end of the day. On the other hand, tucking them in too early only serves to make them start goofing off and becoming hyperactive. So, it’s a fine line that we are walking here, but don’t worry: we’ll help you discover the right time for your kids to go to sleep, thanks to SimpleMost.
The experts in this area know all about our daily struggles, so they decided to put together a nice little chart. This project was undertaken by the Wilson Elementary School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and it provides the hours when the child should go to bed based on age and usual wake-up time.
Here are a few examples. A 5-year-old that wakes up at 6:15 a.m. should go to bed at 7:00 p.m. But a 10-year-old who gets up at the same time could go to bed a little later at 8:15 p.m. This is in accordance with the sleep recommendations for kids provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states that kids aged 3-5 need 10-13 hours of sleep, and kids aged 6-12 can do with 9-12 hours.
Why bedtime matters
The chart became hugely popular on Facebook with over 400,000 shares. It’s hardly surprising, seeing as getting sufficient rest is essential for the health. According to a recent study, regular bedtimes and mealtimes can reduce the risk of obesity in children. Another study has found that putting the kids to bed at earlier times significantly improves the overall happiness of the family.
Since the chart doesn’t provide information for children younger than 5, here are the full recommendations of the American Academy Of Pediatrics:
- Infants from 4-12 months should get 12 to 16 hours of sleep (including naps);
- Children 1-2 years old should get 11 to 14 hours (including naps);
- Kids 3-5 years old should get 10 to 13 hours (including naps);
- Children 6-12 years old should sleep 9 to 12 hours a night;
- Teenagers should get from 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
Just like with any other rule, this one has its exceptions as well. Not all kids can follow this sleeping chart, or, as one Facebook commenter put it: “Great in theory but not for my little one”.
How to get the kids to go to bed earlier?
One very important thing is limiting their before-bed screen time. The National Sleep Foundation has found that the blue light emitted from screens can slow down the release of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. This results in increased alertness and setting the body’s internal clock to a later schedule.
It’s recommended that you impose a digital curfew: no TVs, tablets, phones, and computers in the last one or two hours before bedtime.
Source: Getty Images | Dan Kitwood
Another recommendation by the NSF is having consistent bedtime routines. One example is a soothing bath followed by a good book. You can incorporate whatever you choose in your routine, as long as you repeat it regularly, night after night. The sooner you can establish this routine, the better. You can start right from the infancy!