(taken from National Sleep Foundation website www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html)
Sleep is a vital need, essential to a child’s health and growth. Sleep promotes alertness, memory and performance. Children who get enough sleep are more likely to function better and are less prone to behavioral problems and moodiness. That is why it is important for parents to start early and help their children develop good sleep habits.
How much sleep should my child get?
3 – 5 year-olds: 11 – 13 hours of sleep
5 – 12 year-olds: 10 – 11 hours of sleep
Children Need and Thrive on Routine
The #1 tip for good sleeping habits in children is to follow a nightly routine. A bedtime ritual makes it easier for your child to relax, fall asleep and sleep through the night.
Typical Bedtime Routine
- Have a light snack
- Take a bath.
- Put on pajamas.
- Brush teeth.
- Read a story.
- Make sure the room is quiet and at a comfortable temperature.
- Put your child to bed.
- Say goodnight and leave.
- Make bedtime the same time every night.
- Make bedtime a positive and relaxing experience without TV or videos. According to one recent study, TV viewing prior to bed can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep. Save your child’s favorite relaxing, non-stimulating activities until last and have them occur in the child’s bedroom.
- Keep the bedtime environment (e.g. light, temperature) the same all night long.