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What’s one thing you can do to help your child be a better student, manage their behavior better, and make you a happier parent? Make sure to have a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine at about the same time every night. Read more from HealthyChildren.org.

If you’re having trouble with bedtime, try following these simple tips:

  • No screen time for at least half an hour before bedtime. This includes TVs, computers, tablets, and smart phones. The light activates the brain and halts the brain’s natural melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep. If your child really struggles with bedtime, decrease screen time in general throughout the day.
  • Make the bedtime routine simple enough that you can keep it the same every night. This trains your child’s brain to expect sleep after these routines. And don’t let the routine drag on and on. For example, set a rule to limit reading to three books or three chapters. Using a timer is a great way to let kids know that reading times is over… you can’t argue with a timer! Have a song, a bedtime prayer, or even a special hug as the last thing before going to bed. And remember, the earlier you start these routines, the better. Even a quick board book and a song with your infant helps to set a bedtime routine that can continue into childhood.
  • Use calming music or the sound of a noise machine or fan to help your child fall asleep. These sounds can be relaxing and help to block out other noises.
  • Limit getting up for water, a kiss, a hug, a fear, a potty trip… (the list goes on and on, doesn’t it?) to no more than once per night. You can even make a “get-out-of-bed pass” that once they use it, no more nighttime field trips!
  • Keep bedtimes consistent, even on weekends. This will help your child fall asleep more easily.

Here are the recommended hours of sleep that we need at different ages (from the CDC):

Newborns: 16-18 hours a day

Preschool-aged children:  11-12 hours a day

School-aged children:  at least 10 hours a day

Teens:  9-10 hours a day

Adults:  7-8 hours a day