Making sure my kids get enough sleep has always been a priority. Putting our kids to bed at a set time has been a rule in our home since the kids were very little. Except on rare occasions, their bedtime is at eight o’ clock even on weekends and school holidays.
It’s partly because we’ve noticed the correlation between our happy kids and the amount of sleep they get. But also because bedtime at eight o’ clock was a strict rule for me when I was growing up. It only changed to ten o’ clock when I started high school!
As much as our kids envy their cousins and friends who get to stay up late, they just can’t do it because they’re not used to it. They need a full ten/eleven hours of sleep to function properly.
Dear parents, your child is not getting enough sleep
Being so strict with sleep time, imagine our surprize when we got a note from Joshua’s teacher asking us if he is getting enough sleep! It seems he took a nap on his desk two mornings in a row this week! That would be our kid, the one with the very strict bedtime regime!
Of course, I felt instant mom shame! Although I do appreciate her concern I couldn’t help it. I thought perhaps we’d not made enough effort to ensure their sleep is uninterrupted. Maybe the TV is too loud. I also felt bad that we hadn’t noticed that Josh was exhausted.
The recommended sleep for children by age
So how much sleep should our children be getting? According to this UK website the optimum number of hours were outlined as:
- Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps)
- 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
- 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps)
- 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours
- 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours
Evening routines are important too
Alex very helpfully suggested we move bedtime up by an hour on school days and stick to eight on weekends. We tried it out tonight and it actually was really great having them down by 7:05!
I will admit that moving everything up by an hour will be an adjustment. It will mean getting dinner earlier, homework and bath time done earlier too.
Obviously we can’t always have an early bedtime. I’m working from home so an early bedtime is feasible but it might not be for full-time working parents. We just have to fit a comfortable bedtime routine into our families’ schedules.
Share your thoughts
I love comments to please share your thoughts below. How does bedtime work in your home? Are your kids going to bed at a set time or do they a different routine?