What Is the Right Bedtime for My Child?
All parents know that getting their kids to sleep at the right bedtime every night is no easy task. So read on as we talk about this important topic today.
Every parent wants to know what an appropriate bedtime should be for their children.
They know that enough sleep is key to good health and growth. Having enough sleep is also vital for your child to be in a good mood throughout the day and to perform well at school.
The good news for parents is that they shouldn’t despair. With the following advice, they’ll be able to decide the best time for their children to go to bed, according to the age of each of their children.
We’ll also include some practical tips to avoid distractions and enable their child to get to sleep easily.
What time should children go to bed?
The first thing parents should know is that it’s more important to know how many hours the child should sleep rather than the exact time they should go to bed.
Undoubtedly, we never plan for them to still be up at 11pm, but we shouldn’t worry if they have a late night from time to time. The most important thing is that they enjoy several hours of uninterrupted quality sleep.
According to the Association of Pediatricians of the United States, an acceptable range for children to go to bed is between 7pm and 9pm for children between 5 and 9; and up to 10:30pm if they’re between 10 and 12 years old.
Their bedtime will also depend on what time they have to get up for school. That’s why it’s more practical to divide the ages up a bit more.
Recommended bedtime according to the child’s age
Depending on the their age, a child’s physiological needs for sleep vary. The following information is an approximate guide to an average child’s sleep requirements.
Babies from a few months up to a year
The children in this group should sleep 16 hours a day, including their naps. Of course, children should sleep whenever they want, according to their body’s requirements.
Children between 1 and 5
Children of this age should sleep an estimated 14 hours a day. A few of these hours should be spent in naps. A good bedtime is at 6pm or 7pm.
“It is more important to know how many hours the child should sleep rather than the exact time they should go to bed”
Children between 6 and 10 years old
These children should go to bed between 7:30pm and 9:00pm approximately. Ideally they should sleep around 12 hours.
Children from 11 into their teens
As they approach adolescence they can stay up until 10:30pm, and they should sleep between 8 and 10 hours a day.
How to get them to go to sleep at the right bedtime
We now know how many hours they should sleep and what time they should go to bed, but how can we make it happen?
Here are some recommendations which should be very useful for creating the right bedtime habits.
- Babies stay awake for no longer than three hours at a time. The signs that they want to sleep are often crying accompanied by them rubbing their eyes.
- If they are over 4 or 5 months old and you want them to start sleeping more hours at night, then try to keep their surroundings light during the day, with music and moderate noise. At night, always keep the light off, even when they wake up and you need to feed them. Try to always be as quiet as possible.
- For children between 3 and 4 years of age, we recommend giving them a relaxing bath before they go to bed. Tell them a story and try, as much as possible, to keep to the same bedtime and the same routine every night.
- From the age of 7, avoid having distractions such as the TV on, or a cell phone or tablet at hand, or any visual stimulant that may prevent them from falling asleep. A glass of warm milk before going to bed can help them have a pleasant sleep.
The most important thing is to be aware of your child’s sleep routines.
If you feel that they’ re sleeping too much or, on the contrary, that they’re having problems sleeping, then always consult your doctor for their advice.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Arboledas, G. P., Alarcón, M. C., González, G. M., Roselló, A. L., & Salort, M. M. (2011, February). Hábitos y problemas con el sueño de los 6 a los 14 años en la Comunidad Valenciana. Opinión de los propios niños. In Anales de Pediatría (Vol. 74, No. 2, pp. 103-115). Elsevier Doyma. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1695403310003760
- HealthyChildren staff. (n.d.). Los buenos hábitos del sueño: ¿cuántas horas de sueño necesita un niño? https://www.healthychildren.org/Spanish/healthy-living/sleep/Paginas/healthy-sleep-habits-how-many-hours-does-your-child-need.aspx