Smoother Mornings, Bedtimes and Time Changes
When it comes to kids, according to the sleep foundations new recommended sleep guidelines from 2015 and the reports of actual sleep kids are getting from sleepforkids.org, while babies start out getting the recommended sleep, as kids age, they get less and less of the recommended sleep they need for proper development. By the time they reach grade school, most are not getting the recommended ours and by the teen years they are averaging an hour less per day than the recommendations.
So I am going to share how to make sure our kids getting enough sleep. I’ll talk about how much sleep kids need and how to choose an appropriate bedtime to allow for enough sleep, including how to deal with time changes for those who live in places that switch the clocks, now coming up this weekend.
How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?
- Infants from 3-11 months need 12-15 hours (including naps)
- Toddlers ages 1-3 11-14 hour (including naps)
- Preschoolers, ages 3-5 10-13 hours (including naps)
- School-aged children (1st through 5th grades) 9-11 hours
- Teens 8-10
How to Set a Proper Bedtime
So now let’s start with the morning routine to figure out the wake up time. Then we’ll move backwards from there. So let’s say you have to drop your child off at school by 7:45. Factor in all your pieces of the morning routine, dressing, breakfast, brushing teeth, the drive to school and walkup/drop-off and then, add 5 to 10 minutes for padding for any unforeseen issues, can’t find a shoe, last run to the potty, oh i forgot my library book. I wanted the green plate not the yellow one! You get the idea. So lets’ say you figure out that means you need to wake up your child. So let’s say that means you decide you need to have your child awake by 10 to 7. Now you will count backwards to find the asleep time, this is not bedtime it’s asleep time. So if your child is 4 and needs 10-13 hours, and those extra hours are usually accounted for by naps. My oldest stopped napping literally the day he turned 3. He just didn’t need those extra hours. He’s a high energy kid who doesn’t need a lot of sleep so he fell closer to the 10 hours. My twin boy, Chandler was always my best sleeper, slept through the night before anyone else, well by age! He was sleeping through the night by 2 1/2 months old. So he needed the 12-13. So let’s assume the 4 year old in this example needs around 12 hours and takes a 1 1/2 hour nap. That means he will need 10 1/2 hours at night which means he will need to be asleep by 8:20. Some kids fall asleep in 5 minutes, others in 20-30. So add that in and subtract again. so that means a bedtime, meaning in bed, not starting to get ready, in bed sometime between 7:45 and 8:15. Then factor in your bedtime routine. The bedtime routine should be 15-20 minutes tops. Getting dressed, brushing teeth, reading a book and/or singing a song. The last 5 minutes should always be done in the room. Now obviously if you consider bath-time part of the bedtime routine and you do it nightly, then that would add to the bedtime routine.
Now, you may decide that different kids can have different wake up times, if one takes longer to eat or get dressed. We have to do this. Our 2 younger kids take longer to get dressed and our daughter takes longer to get dressed AND to eat! So we have to wake her up first by about 10 minutes. Of course we have it easiest with our oldest because he’s always up and dressed way before he needs to be! But the point is you can give your kids different wake-up times, and treat them according to their own idiosyncracies, and actually you should!
To learn about smoother mornings so kids can sleep a little later in the morning and cut down on morning stress, as well as how to have an easier time with time changes, you can listen to this episode on our podcast.