Kids bedtime always seems to become a bit of a challenge at some point. Our three grandsons were always very good sleepers through the night from an early age. They have their own room at our house and stay over with us frequently and have done so since they were tiny, we love having them to stay.
The oldest two are now in their tween years, 9 (C) and 11 (F) and getting them to go to sleep can be a bit of a struggle.
Kids Bedtime and their Delaying tactics
When the boys stay over at ours we try and follow the same bedtime routine they have at home. I think it’s quite important to have a fairly set kids bedtime routine.
As F is 2 years older he gets to stay up for half an hour longer than C but that’s usually greeted with wails of that’s not fair. C goes up to bed at the same time as the littlest grandson Z who basically still falls asleep as soon as he’s had a story.
I’m not sure how C does it, but he can drag bedtime out for so long. All the boys love reading so I’m happy to encourage them. Z usually gets to read a couple of pages outload and then we’ll read him a short story. C will then read to me when I take him up and then I’ll read a chapter to him.
I’m sure it’s just a delaying tactic but when C is reading he’ll stop after every couple of sentences to discuss what he’s just read! Then he’ll decide he needs another wee! And then a glass of water! You get the picture.
By the time it’s time for F to come up C is still awake and they’re both allowed to read their books to themselves for a while. However, after they’ve finished reading they just carry on chatting and sometimes it can get very late before they’ll actually fall asleep.
It’s a long time since G was that age so I have forgotten what it was like with her, but she was also an only child so didn’t have anyone to chat with in bed which probably helped her fall asleep quicker.
Why do Kids need so much sleep?
Establishing a routine for kids bedtime helps as sleep is so important for us all. When we’re asleep our bodies repair and rejuvenate, they’re hard at work repairing tissue, boosting muscle mass, releasing growth hormones and maintaining a strong immune system (sleep-deprived children, for example, are much more prone to common colds and flu).
It is also thought that another benefit to sleeping well is weight management. Studies have shown that young children who get less than 10 hours sleep a night are three times more likely to be obese than those getting 12 or more.
We all know how grumpy and moody we can get when we’re tired. The same applies to our children as well. Lack of sleep can negatively affect the way emotions regulate, increasing your stress levels through heightened anxiety. While sleep won’t eliminate stress, it increases our readiness to cope with it.
Studies have also shown that while we sleep, our brains process and consolidate memories, helping our children to remember the important things in life. In contrast, losing sleep makes you more likely to make silly mistakes and impairs problem-solving and focus, as brain neurons can’t function at their best.
What is the right amount of sleep for kids?
It seems generally recommended that 7 to 12-year olds should get around 10 hours sleep a night. However, no two children are the same, so this is only a guide, some may need slightly more, and some may need slightly less so somewhere between 9 and 11 hours for Tweens.
It’s good to try and stick to a routine for kids bedtime, although that’s not always easy.
The boys do have a routine which is:
- Stop playing on electronic devices an hour before bed
- Change into PJs
- Have a drink of milk
- Brush teeth
- Say goodnight
- Let them continue reading with their reading lights for a while
It’s worth making sure that they stop playing on their computer consoles or electronic devises an hour before bedtime, you can read more about this on my Screen time Blog
The kids bedtime at Grandma's
As I mentioned we try and follow the same routine at our house when the boys stay over as they have at theirs.
And although I think they probably get away with not going to sleep as quickly at our as they do at home I think I can rest assured the boys are getting enough sleep at weekends when they stay with us. They usually manage to get around 11 hours although sometimes it might be closer to 10.
Sleep matters a lot and is essential to children’s health and growth, so I will continue to make sure we do everything we can to make sure they get plenty of it. And when they’re teenagers I’ll probably be trying my hardest to get them out of bed rather than into it.