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Do your children have a bedtime routine or even a bedtime? Sleeping is so good for your health. Children need at least 9-12 hours’ worth of sleep each night. Studies show 30% of kids don’t get the recommended number of hours of sleep each night. Starting a bedtime routine was one of the best things I have done for my children. Bedtimes for children are great for the parents too. You know when your child is going to bed and you know you have some time each night to decompress.
If your child doesn’t have a bedtime or a bedtime routine, don’t beat yourself up. Before we started my daughter’s bedtime routine, bedtime was a nightmare. She would be cranky. We would have to practically put on a big production of rocking, singing, cuddling, etc. just to get her to go to sleep. It was sooooo TIRING! A couple of weeks after we implemented the routine, bedtime was one of the easiest parts of our day. Bedtime routines can be implemented as early as when your child is six weeks old.
Here are nine reasons you should start a bedtime routine for your children:
1. They wake up less at night and sleep longer
According to a recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, children sleep better and wake up less during the night when they have a bedtime routine in place.
2. Decreased sleeping problems
When you have an established bedtime routine for your children, they have less sleep problems. They aren’t falling asleep watching TV. They aren’t falling asleep during the day because they didn’t get enough sleep the night before. In fact, 90% of pediatricians recommend a good, solid bedtime routine when a patient is having trouble sleeping.
3. Decreased behavior problems during the day
When a child doesn’t get enough sleep, they are CRANKY!!! Their brain hasn’t had a chance to rest and recharge. They can't think because their cognitive ability decreases with a lack of sleep. This is why teachers preach to parents about getting a good night's rest before big tests.
4. They will sleep in later
Studies show that children who have a good bedtime routine will start sleeping in later. Children don’t start sleeping in later until around age six.
5. Less resistance at bedtime
When you have a predictable bedtime routine for your children, they know what to expect. In turn, they will not resist as much when you send them to bed. When your child knows when they are going to go to bed, there is NO chatter. They just know when mama says time for bed at bedtime, then it is time. Their body is used to going to bed at that time.
When you have a bedtime routine for children, they start to associate those tasks with going to sleep and getting ready for bed. They’re called sleep associations. Sleep Associations are scientifically proven to help children go to sleep faster.
6. More quality time
When you have a bedtime for your children, you can schedule quality time with them. You can make time to read and pray with them. If you wait until your child falls asleep on the living room floor, they aren't going to be up for much cuddles and reading before bedtime. If you try to read or cuddle, you will likely be at the end of a temper tantrum. When your child goes to bed at a decent hour that also gives you quality time with your spouse or yourself. If you go to bed at 9:30, and your children go to bed at 7:30, then you get two whole hours to yourself.
7. Fewer health problems
Did you know if you don’t get enough sleep, you can have health problems?
Here are 12 side effects of sleep deprivation in children:
- slow to wake in the morning
- short attention span
- decreased motivation
- frequent infections and colds
- anxiety, depression
- disruptive behavior including aggression and temper tantrums
- memory problems
- relationship problems
- frequently falling asleep in the car and outside of naptime
- “crashing” before bedtime
The bottom line is your child NEEDS sleep. Starting a sleep routine can take a couple of weeks but hang in there!! You will get it, Mama. Don’t give up! It is important to their health and not to mention, you can get some quality time with your child and by yourself after they go to sleep.