Health

This Chart Shows You When You Should Put Your Kids To Bed

This is super helpful!

One question my wife and I have always struggled with is what time we should get our little ones to bed.

Go to bed too early, and they goof off, get hyper and never get to sleep. Go to bed too late, and we’ve got grumpy tired kids who can barely make it through the day.

Both my wife and I work, so we want to maximize the time we get to spend with the littles. But we also want to make sure they’re getting the proper amount of sleep so they remain focused and energized for school. We’re definitely not alone.

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What The Experts Say About Bedtime

Luckily, Wilson Elementary School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has provided a little chart to help parents out. The chart is based on age and usual wake-up time.

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For example, if you have a 5-year-old who has to wake up at 6:15 a.m., she should go to bed at 7:00 p.m. A 10-year-old who gets up at 6:15 could stay up until 8:15 p.m, however. This lines up with American Academy of Pediatrics’ sleep recommendations for kids, which say that kids ages 3-5 should get 10-13 hours of sleep whereas kids 6-12 are OK with 9-12.

Why Bedtime Matters

This chart has been shared on Facebook over 400,000 times—and for good reason. We know getting enough rest is vital to our kids’ health. Recent research has found that consistent bedtimes and mealtimes reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Furthermore, one study found that putting kids to bed early can even make for a happier family overall.

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American Academy Of Pediatrics’ Recommendations

Wilson Elementary’s chart doesn’t show the recommended bedtime before age 5, so here’s the full rundown of AAP-approved sleep recommendations:

  • Infants from 4 to 12 months should get 12 to 16 hours of sleep (including naps)
  • Children 1 to 2 years old should get 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 3 to 5 should get 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Children 6 to 12 year olds should sleep 9 to 12 hours a night
  • Teenagers should get from 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night

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Of course, some kids are bound to be outliers (as one Facebook commenter said about the sleep chart: “Great in theory but not for my little one”).

Still, it can help to have some suggested guidelines to follow.

What Can We Do To Get Our Kids To Bed Earlier?

First of all, researchers say we need to limit before-bed screen time. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the blue light emitted from screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness and reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule. Yikes!

To be safe, they recommend a digital curfew that would limit the use of TV, tablets, phones and computers one to two hours before bedtime.

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The National Sleep Foundation also recommends a consistent bedtime routine. In our house, this includes a soothing bath and a good book. But whatever you choose to incorporate into your bedtime routine, know that a regular routine can set you and your child up for success. And this can start as early as infancy, so the sooner you can establish a routine, the better!

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What about you? What time do your kids go to bed?