In regard to attitude, health, and general well being nothing beats a good night sleep. Sometimes getting to sleep can be a chore. The culprit can be anything from too much caffeine close to bedtime to anxious thoughts. At my house, when we don’t get enough of the old shut-eye tempers flare quickly, work is left unfinished, and someone usually ends up sick. Sleep is important!
How much is enough for our kids? Generally speaking, babies need 14-15 hours of sleep per day, with sleep patterns beginning to be established at 4-5 months. Your baby’s three naps a day will decrease to two afternoon naps around 6 months.
Toddlers need 12-14 hours of sleep per night with one nap during the day. Work your schedule around naptime. This is especially necessary if you’re child is experiencing meltdowns in the afternoons.
Ten to twelve hours of sleep are recommended for preschoolers. Consistency helps. Determine a bedtime and try to stick to it. Your child’s internal clock will develop a pattern, which is exactly what is needed.
As children grow, a proper amount of sleep is necessary to function well at school, in sporting activities, and for good health. Bodies are growing! Elementary school age children should be getting 10-11 hours a night and your teen still needs 8-9 hours to be fully rested…and sometimes more. If you have teens, you know exactly what I mean!
Here are tips to help your child get enough rest.
Bedtime Tips for Little Ones
• Develop a routine and keep it consistent. (Jammies on, teeth brushed, reading time, prayers, and kisses.) Include a time for quiet activities 30 minutes before bedtime to “set the stage” for bedtime.
• Stick to a consistent bedtime.
• Make your child’s bedroom a quiet and comfortable place to sleep.
• Use the bed only for sleeping. Do not put a TV or computer in your child’s bedroom. Limit screen time before bed.
• Limit food and drink before bedtime.
• Play soft music. This masks other household noise and is soothing.
• Have a structured routine: bathe, brush teeth, books or stories, songs and prayers. Crawling in bed squeaky clean is a good feeling including a sparkly smile. Get your child in the habit of brushing his teeth.
• Tuck your child into bed snugly for a feeling of security, using Scripture to remind your child of the Lord’s constant care.
• If your child is afraid of the dark, plug in a nightlight.
• Punctuate bedtime with prayer. Rote prayers are good with little ones. Expanding into personal prayers, including attributes of the Lord, thanking God, requesting forgiveness, and ending with asking for help teaches a child how to talk to his heavenly Father.
• Tuck your child in securely and kiss him goodnight. Tell him you’ll see him in the morning to set the expectation that when the sun rises in the sky, he may too.
Tips for Tweens and Teens
• Charge the cell phone and other electronics in your bedroom, or a common room, away from your child’s sleeping area. Discuss phone etiquette and determine cell phone hours for use. If necessary, limit service to specific daytime hours.
• Encourage a consistent bedtime.
• Suggest no caffeine after dinner.
• Create a cozy atmosphere in the child’s bedroom, conducive to sleep.
• Computers and televisions are best kept in common family areas, not the child’s bedroom.
• Pray with and for your child. Incorporate praise for God, confession, thankfulness for blessings, and prayers of supplication. Giving worries to the Lord helps everyone sleep better.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott
Mom of two
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Co-author of The 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series
Raising Little Kids with Big Love and
Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love
and the Study Guides