Unless you are very lucky, you have probably struggled to get your child to go to sleep at some point. If you have ever experienced this struggle, you may be asking yourself how important child bedtime is. You may also want to know for certain what time your child’s bedtime should be. Having this knowledge shows you that at least your bedtime struggles are not in vain.
You can also get a better understanding of how a lack of sleep can affect your child. Let’s start by looking at just how important sleep is.
Why Sleep Is Important For Children
Sleep is an essential part of life for both adults and children. In the case of a child, it’s even more vital because a lack of sleep can have a significantly adverse effect on their mental and physical development.
This is because energy levels are restored, tissue growth happens and hormones are released during the deep stages of NREM sleep. This helps your child to remain healthy and alert.
How Much Sleep Does A Child Need?
In order to make sure that your child gets enough sleep, you need to know how much sleep they need. This depends on how old your child is. Here is a useful table that shows you the number of hours of sleep that children need at different ages.
|4-12 months||12-16 hours including naps|
|1-2 years||11-14 hours including naps|
|3-5 years||10-13 hours including naps|
|6-12 years||9-12 hours|
What Time Should Bedtime Be?
Now that you know how much sleep your child should be getting, you should be able to work out what their bedtime should be. This will depend on what time they need to get up in the morning.
There is a chart which you can look at that gives you an idea of the ideal bedtimes for children of different ages, if you are wondering what time should kids go to bed?
As a general rule, for young children, the usual bedtime gets half-an-hour later as a child gets a year older. For instance, the ideal time for a 5-year-old to go to bed is 6:45 pm. For a 6-year-old the ideal bedtime is 7:15 pm and for a 7-year-old it’s 7:45 pm.
Should A Child Have A Night Light?
Many parents automatically provide a night light when it’s bedtime for kids. However, this is not really a good idea. If you have a young baby, you should not leave the light on when you put them to bed. This gets your child used to be in the dark.
If you do need to provide a night light, because your child is scared of the dark, you should make sure that it’s not too bright. You should also talk to your child about their fears and wean them off their need for light as soon as possible.
It’s important to do this because light can be disruptive to sleep. Your child is more likely to get to sleep and be undisturbed while they sleep if their bedroom is dark.
The Benefits Of A Bedtime Story
Even when you know what time your child should go to bed, it can be difficult to get them to sleep. One of the best ways to encourage your child to sleep at bedtime is to read them a bedtime story.
Doing this helps them to feel secure and calm. This makes it easier for them to relax and fall asleep. There are also other benefits to reading a bedtime story to your child.
Their language and listening skills are improved as you read. They also use their imagination as they listen which helps them to develop their creativity. It’s also a fact that children who have stories read to them are more likely to become keen readers themselves and to develop a love of books.
Hopefully, you should now have an answer to the question “What time should my child go to bed?” You can also see the benefits of making sure that your child goes to bed at the right time so that they get enough sleep to keep them healthy.