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7 Tips and Tricks for Getting Kids to Sleep at Night

When it comes to children and sleep, one of the most frequent concerns from parents is how to get them to bed on time every night. Nearly every parent has had to deal with the difficulty of putting a child to bed at some point, and for a lot of parents, bedtime is a recurring nightmare. It seems strange that kids require much more sleep than adults do, yet many resist going to sleep with every fiber in their body. This can cause a strain on both parents and children and lead to poor sleep for everybody in the household.

7 tips on getting your kids to bed on time every night:

1 - Know how much sleep your child should be getting. Based on your child's age, they will require various amounts of sleep. From total hours slept everyday, to how many hours a night they sleep, to typical napping habits, understanding your child's sleeping needs will help you set limitations and bedtime rules for your kids.

Here is a generalized guideline to how much sleep your child needs based on their age:

1 to 4 weeks old- Newborns sleep approximately 16-17 hours a day with periods of wakefulness lasting 1-3 hours. However, most newborns have not developed a night/day sleep cycle, so their periods of sleep and wakefulness can vary to all hours of the day. Most parents will have to adjust their own sleep schedules to accommodate newborns.

1 to 4 months old- Babies of this age still tend to sleep about the same amount of hours, but their night/day sleep cycles begin to kick in, allowing them to sleep longer at night, although they still wake for feedings and changes.

4 months to 1 year- Babies of this age still require between 14-15 hours of sleep everyday. However, many of them are able to sleep through most of the night, and take up to 3 naps during the day and evening. During this period it is important to really begin to establish healthy sleep habits for your child.

1 to 3 years- Most toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep, but often get less due to the schedules of parents and older children in the house. They will more than likely lose their early morning nap and early evening nap and tend to only take one nap a day.

3 to 6 years- Approximately 11-12 hours of sleep. Younger children of this group may still require a short nap during the day, but the need to nap usually diminishes by the time they enter the first grade.

7 to 12 years- Children of these age groups tend to need about 10-12 hours of nightly sleep but often only get about 9-10 hours.

13 to 18 years- Teens of this age require about 8-10 hours of sleep, but rarely get the full amount they need. The demands of schoolwork, after school programs and activities often cut into their nightly sleep. Most teens reports getting about 6-8 hours of sleep.

2- Make bedtime a routine.
3 - Create an ideal sleeping environment.
4 - Turn off electronics.
5- Make sure they get regular exercise.
6 - Avoid meals and caffeine before bedtime.
7 - Be on the lookout for signs of sleep disorders.

Parenting Coach Janet King joined me on The Drive Home to discuss this topic.