FOR many parents it is a struggle to get children to sleep at night, however a good amount of sleep is important for any child.
But when should a child to go bed and how much sleep do they need?
What time should children go to bed?
The golden question asked by parents up and down the country has several different answers, depending on who you ask.
But many agree that regular bedtime routines should be introduced when your little ones are around 4 months old.
Sleepsisters.com released their thoughts in a guide, which suggested:
- Newborns (up to three months): the babies don't need a bedtime and instead typically sleep in short bursts of two hours throughout the day and night
- 1-4 months: 8-11pm – as the babies are still feeding regularly, this is the recommended time frame to put them down
- 4-8 months: 5.30-7.30pm – In addition to regular naps, an earlier bedtime can help babies get the sleep they need to develop
- 8-10 months: 5.30-7pm – Sleep Sisters say that bedtime should be no later than 3.5 hours after their second nap, whereas the time frame is slightly earlier as they're likely to have cut out their third nap
- 10-15 months: 6-7.30pm – As babies are probably cutting down on naps, it's important to bring their bedtime earlier, however, it's important to note that bedtime should be no later than 4 hours after a nap
- 15 months – 3 years: 6-7.30pm – Once naps have stopped completely, bedtime should be brought forward
- 3-6 years: 6-8pm – With children no longer napping, they'll need an extra hour of sleep a night
- 7-12 years: 7.30-9pm – Now your little one is at school, sleep is all the more important
- Teenagers: 9+ – When it comes to teens, it's a different ball game and the experts say you should count backwards from the time they need to be up to ensure they're getting what's required for their age bracket
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How much sleep do children need?
This is another burning question that lots of mums and dads discuss when their kids are small.
Every child needs a different amount of sleep, depending on their age group.
Cleveland Heath Clinic suggests the following schedule for newborns, children and teenagers:
- Newborns (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
- Infants (four to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
- Toddlers (one to two): 11 to 14 hours
- Pre-schoolers (three to five): 10 to 13 hours
- School-age (six to 13): 9 to 11 hours
- Tweens and Teens (14 to 17): 8 to 10 hours
Bedtime sleep chart by age
According to the sleep chart shared by people like teacher Stacy Karlsen, children's sleep patterns should all depend on the age of your child, plus the time they get up in the morning.
For instance, the chart states that children aged five should go to bed from 6.45pm to 8.15pm.
If your five-year-old gets up at 6.30am, they'll be ready to go to sleep at 7.15pm.
But if they were up at the slightly later 7am, they'll be ready to nod off at 7.30 in the evening.
On the other hand, an eight-year-old who gets up at 6.45am in the morning will be ready to go to sleep at 8.15pm, the same aged child who woke later, at 7.30am, won't be ready for bed until 9pm.
Meanwhile, kids aged 11 and 12 should be asleep anytime from 8.15pm to 9.45pm.
Why do children need lots of sleep?
According to Sleep Foundation, “sleep plays a crucial role in the development of young minds”.
It also has a “direct effect on happiness” and research shows that sleep impacts alertness and attention, cognitive performance, mood, resiliency, vocabulary acquisition, and learning and memory.
For toddlers, regular naps is necessary for “memory consolidation, executive attention, and motor skill development”.
Sleep also has important effects on growth, especially in early infancy.
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