Sleep and Nighttime Routines for Children

Sleep is one of children’s most critical needs and so often they aren’t getting this need met. Even just 30 minutes less of the necessary amount of sleep can impact them greatly. It may create behavioral challenges, impede on concentration, impact their mental health, and much more.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, children between the ages of 3-5 need between 10-13 hours of sleep a night, children between the ages of 6-13 need 9-11 hours of sleep a night, and teenagers between the ages of 14-17 need 8-10 hours of sleep a night.  

Sleep can be quite a challenge for many parents, as they can’t figure out how to get their child to go to bed.

For parents of teens, the challenge may be getting home late from extracurriculars, having too much homework, or not being able to get off their phone. For parents of children, the challenge may be getting them to stop fighting the fatigue or getting them to stay in their room while the rest of the house is still up.

If you’re at a loss of how to manage the nighttime in your home and help your child gets the much-needed sleep he or she needs; two words…. SLEEP ROUTINE. 

Below are some tips on how to create a sleep routine specific for your child:. 

  • Start the routine at least 1 hour out from the ideal bedtime. For example, if bedtime is at 8 then start the nighttime routine at 7. 
  • Remove or turn off all screens and technology (this goes for BOTH children and teens). A good strategy is to make a designated technology space where your child turns in all screen at least an hour before bed. 
  • Incorporate activities such as taking a shower, brushing their teeth, packing their lunch, or getting their outfit out for the next day. Whichever tasks you choose to incorporate, make sure they do the same sequence at the same time each night. 
  • Get your child involved. If they feel they have a hand in the process, they will be more inclined to want to follow through. 
  • Incorporate a non-stimulating, grounding activity such as meditation, reading, or deep breathing exercises. 
  • Research supports that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so whatever routine you come up with for your child be sure to stick with it for 21 days straight before throwing the towel in.

Written by: Amberly Ellis