The biggest challenge facing modern families today is that many mums and dads work full time.
Most often, we aim to get home by 6pm, we race around preparing dinner, we do homework, bath time and engage in other after-school activities.
Another issue may be that your younger child goes to bed at the same time as his or her older sibling, which can mean stretching bedtime to as late as 9:30pm by the time all the above is done.
So how much sleep should your kids get?
Obviously every child is different, and each one has their own individual needs, but here is a general guideline of what you should aim for, in a typical 24-hour period:
* 1 to 8 months of age: approximately 14 to 15 hours per night
* 8 to 10 months of age: approximately 12 to 15 hours per night
* 10 to 15 months of age: approximately 12 to 14 hours per night
* 15 months to 3 years of age: approximately 12 to 14 hours per night
* 3 to 6 years of age: approximately 11 to 13 hours per night
* 7 to 12 years of age: approximately 10 to 11 hours per night.
Maintaining a consistent routine of meal, sleep and wake times will help set the internal clock in both kids and adults alike.
Much like with grown ups, sending your kids late to bed can lead to:
* difficulty falling to sleep
* night waking
* early morning waking
* generally less sleep overall, which leads to irritable and overtired behaviours.
Proper sleep habits promote energy, wellness, effective learning, good moods and sanity for parents. Best of all, enough sleep will help keep children happy and contented.
Here are a few tips to help you and your famly create good sleeping habits.
It’s important not to go past the recommended bedtime of around 6.30pm to 7.30pm. The old saying ‘early to bed early to rise’ just isn’t true when it comes to our little ones. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – sleep creates sleep! So pushing bedtime out to 8pm to get them to sleep till 7am the next day won’t necessarily work.
Try and avoid letting your child sleep too late in the afternoon, as you want them to keep to the same bedtime every night, as this will help them maintain their rhythm.
Have a quiet wind down routine, which leads to the same sleep time every night. This will help produce melatonin, which encourages sleep.
Routine and consistency is the key for great sleeping habits as it provides babies, toddlers and children with security, and helps to create an effective bedtime and naptime schedule.
Altering your child’s sleep routine can take sometime to get right, but it is well worth the effort. It is important to stick to your plan, work to remove the sleep crutches, and always remember that being calm and gentle, yet confident and with a united approach from both parents, is the secret to sleeping bliss.