A children’s sleep consultant has uncovered the secret to making sure your child has the perfect amount of rest to make them settled, happy, and ready to take on the next day
Image: Getty Images)
For many parents, getting your child to bed is no easy task, especially when it’s unclear just how much sleep the youngster should be getting.
Sending your child to bed before they’re tired can result in tantrums, but letting them stay up too late can leave them feeling tired the following day, which could lead to moody and unfocused kids.
Well-rested children are more settled, happy, and more likely to be ready for school the next day – but just how much sleep does a growing child need?
According to Lisa, a baby and children’s sleep consultant with Sshhhh Sleep Consultancy, the average amount of sleep required for a child changes with age.
Getty Images/Cultura RF)
Lisa claims a one-year-old child should be getting around 12 hours of sleep, with babies needing to be put to bed at 7pm for a 7am wake-up time.
While five-year-old children need slightly less sleep, and can stay up until 9pm if they need to wake up at 7am, as reported by The Sun.
Lisa explained: “Sleep cycles happen every 90 minutes. This is handy to know why your baby will wake frequently throughout the night.
“It’s important that they can self-settle so that every time their cycle finishes, they can continue on back to sleep.
“As for children, think of 90-minute cycles and count back from when you may want them to wake. That will be a desired bed-time for them.
“All children are different and you may be guided by them and when they are ready for sleep late afternoon / early evening. Take their sleep cues as being ready for rest before sleep.”
Lyndsey Hookway, the co-founder of the Holistic Sleep Coaching Program, also revealed that setting children down too early could make it harder for them to fall asleep.
She said: “If a child is taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, consider whether the bedtime is unrealistically early.
“If bedtime seems too late, then in general, it’s a good idea to try to inch it earlier by a very small amount to allow the child’s body clock to adjust slowly.
“Painting an unrealistic image of children’s sleep times often leads to frustration at bedtimes, and parents feeling like either they, or their children are getting it ‘wrong’ when in actual fact, it is often the recommended bedtime that is wrong.”
The sleep experts also advised that children shouldn’t take naps after 3pm, and that a routine should be set to allow youngsters to get used to the idea of bedtime.
Lisa suggested: “I always find it better to bathe babies at night-time rather than in the morning. We need an increase of body temperature before bedtime to allow the drop of temperature to aid sleep at night.
“For lively toddlers who do not like going to bed, allow them to take up to three toys or books to bed and let them choose their pyjamas.
“This gives them some control when it comes to bedtime, and you may find better compliance from them.
“Also, promote routine. If they go to bed at a certain time each night, continue to do so every night. We are creatures of habit. Be consistent – every single night!”
Do you have any tips for the bedtime routine? Let us know in the comments.