Time for bed for children shared by sleep expert who offers hack

A sleep expert has shared advice on getting kids to the land of nod – including what time parents should be aiming to have their little ones all tucked up in bed. 

Jennifer Robinson has reminded parents youngsters “thrive off” routine so recommends sticking rigidly to times which suit them.

Speaking to the Mirror, the mum-of-two, who predominantly works with children aged between 18 weeks and seven years old, said: “So a 7pm bedtime and a 7am wake up is what we would aim for,” Jennifer explained. However, this might not suit every child and there are times when you can bring bedtime forward by an hour or so.

“If you find your child is waking before six or seven o’clock in the morning then we would bring the bedtime forward to counteract that. We generally say 12 hours awake and 12 hours asleep for a child who is nine months old and that carries on all the way until they are at least seven years old. Before nine months bedtimes can vary significantly as it would depend on the baby’s daytime sleep and how late their last nap was.”

Jennifer runs sleep training programmes as The Happy Sleep Coach, whereby parents learn more about routine and sleep benefits.

She continued: “Children get so tired, especially when starting nursery and school as the new environments are so stimulating for them, but how tired they are will also depend on how much sleep they’ve had during the day from naps.

“A lot of children start dropping naps when they go to nursery at the age of three and we often start seeing night wakes or early rising at that point.

“The loss of the nap, coupled with the super stimulating environment they’re in during the day, running around getting very tired, can see children getting themselves into an overtired cycle.

“A sign of this may be that your child is falling asleep really easily in the car on the way home as they’re so tired.”

Jennifer adds that in this situation, you’d want to bring the bedtime forward to 6pm instead of 7pm, otherwise you may just be fuelling the overtired cycle.

She explains that many parents often mistakenly believe that if their child is waking up before 7am in the morning it must mean they’ve had too much sleep and the bedtime needs to be later, but actually it’s the opposite and they need to go to bed earlier.

“While the aim is seven until seven and that’s what I tell my clients, some children just don’t sleep until 7am every day, but as long as they are getting their fill of sleep overnight and the right amount of sleep for their age, it’s ok.

“Most parents don’t want their kids going to bed at eight or nine o’clock at night, as they might want to eat after they’re asleep and have some ‘me time’. It might sound selfish, but parents need to be the best versions of themselves to be the best parents they can be and if they’re tired and haven’t had time to wash their hair or make dinner, they’re not going to be in the right frame of mind.”

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