Appropriate Bedtime, Ages 5-6 Years – Valerie Birch with Amazing Little Sleepers – Omaha, NB

It’s August and your child is back in school.  The BEST way to prepare our children for learning and success in and out of the classroom is to ensure they are receiving enough sleep each night.  Dr. Marc Weissbluth, well-renowned pediatrician and author of Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child states “children’s sleep habits directly impact behavior and school performance.”  Diving further to explain (something all we exhausted parents know as a fact!) “sleep is a powerful modifier of mood, behavior, performance and personality.  It impacts every area of our lives.”

How do you know if your child is receiving enough sleep each night?  Ask yourself three simple questions:

  1. Do you have to wake your child each morning?
  2. How is your child’s mood towards the end of the day?  Are they happy, calm and enjoyable?  Or are they short tempered, easy to melt-down or challenging?
  3. Are they receiving 10.5-13 hours of consolidated sleep each night?

Your “correct” answers:

  1. If you have to wake your child each morning, then they are not getting enough sleep at night.  Our internal clocks, when given enough available hours to sleep each night, work perfectly, allowing our bodies to wake naturally after enough sleep each night.
  2. Children who are well rested are able to stand the days activities and still act like angels towards the end of the day.  Okay, maybe not angels 😉 but they are happy and easy going.  Children who are having major mood swings, behavioral issues or a sobbing mess of tears are overtired.  Those children need more sleep at night.
  3. According to the National Sleep Foundation, Preschool Children ages 3-5 years should be receive 10-13 hours of sleep each day.  School age children, 6-13 years should receive 9-11 hours a day.  Of course every child is unique, and working in this industry for nearly 4 years I strongly believe children ages 5-6 should not receive less than 10 hours a night, and some even sleep up towards 13 hours a night – especially those first days after starting Kindergarten.  You should know the range of sleep to aim for, but always follow your child’s lead. If their daily activities leave them extra tired that night, then allow their body to sleep earlier and longer to make the most of their learning and recovery process…which happens during sleep!

A quick guide to to learning an appropriate bedtime for your child, ages 5-6 years:  Bedtime Schedule, 5-6 Years   Remember, work backwards.  Know what time your child needs to be awake for the day and then calculate an appropriate bedtime that allows enough available hours for sleep.

What more research on why appropriate bedtimes are so important?  Click here: Bedtime Research  In the document, you can click on each SOURCE to read the full research document.

To Happy Sleep and the BEST School Year Ahead!

Sources: Weissbluth, Marc. M.D., Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Fourth Addition. New York, 2015. Pages xiii-xix.   

Bedtime Research document: All taken from http://sleepeducation.org/healthysleep/make-time-2-sleep-bedtime-calculator.