Sleep is something every human being needs to live. It is the time of the circadian rhythm where your body rejuvenated itself through rest and recovery. No matter what is going on in your daily life, you usually feel better after a good night’s sleep.
In fact, if you are overly stressed – either mentally or physically – your body will try and shut itself down in order to help you heal. You likely already know the benefits of sleep.
Unfortunately, your kids do not know this.
Kids think they’re invincible and their little developing minds are always flying through life at 100 mph. Sleep is not high on their list of priorities, but if you’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with a cranky kid, you know it should be.
If you’re having trouble getting your kid(s) to sleep, try these helpful tricks and tips.
Know How Much Sleep Your Kids Need
Use the following as a rough guide (via AlaskaSleep):
1 to 4 weeks old: Newborns sleep approximately 16-17 hours a day with periods of wakefulness lasting 1-3 hours. However, most newborns have not developed a night/day sleep cycle, so their periods of sleep and wakefulness can vary to all hours of the day. Most parents will have to adjust their own sleep schedules to accommodate newborns.
1 to 4 months old: Babies of this age still tend to sleep about the same amount of hours, but their night/day sleep cycles begin to kick in, allowing them to sleep longer at night, although they still wake for feedings and changes.
4 months to 1 year: Babies of this age still require between 14-15 hours of sleep everyday. However, many of them are able to sleep through most of the night, and take up to 3 naps during the day and evening. During this period it is important to really begin to establish healthy sleep habits for your child.
1 to 3 years: Most toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep, but often get less due to the schedules of parents and older children in the house. They will more than likely lose their early morning nap and early evening nap and tend to only take one nap a day.
3 to 6 years: Approximately 11-12 hours of sleep. Younger children of this group may still require a short nap during the day, but the need to nap usually diminishes by the time they enter the first grade.
7 to 12 years: Children of these age groups tend to need about 10-12 hours of nightly sleep but often only get about 9-10 hours.
13 to 18 years: Teens of this age require about 8-10 hours of sleep, but rarely get the full amount they need. The demands of schoolwork, after-school programs, and activities often cut into their nightly sleep. Most teens reports getting about 6-8 hours of sleep.
Make Bedtime A Routine
It sounds simple, but it works. Kids love routines, actually, they crave them. So make going to bed one too. Start with a wind-down period 15-30 minutes before their decided bed time using one (or a combination) of the following:
- A relaxing bath
- Putting on pajamas
- Brushing their teeth
- Storytime in bed
- Goodnight kisses
Create An Ideal Sleeping Environment
Your child’s room should be kept as cool, quiet, and dark as their comfort level allows. If your child’s comfort level isn’t very high yet or if they’re still a toddler, use a sound machine or nightlight.