Routines are a big part of life with small kids. You need a routine before school. You need a routine after school. There are routines on the weekend and a bedtime routine is probably one of the most important routines we make. Doctors recommend 8.5 to 11 hours of sleep each night for kids age 5-12. This means that they must get to bed somewhere between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm each night. I know that sounds unrealistic, but it is true. Lack of sleep can cause problems in school and behavioral problems for children aged 5-12. Basically, that bad attitude that your child has, may be attributed to a lack of sleep.

For most of us, a 9:00 bedtime is hard enough to abide by. By the time schoolwork, baths and dinner are complete, it’s a rush to make your child fall asleep on time. Here are some tips to help your child wind down and fall asleep quicker. We already spoke about a routine, but what about the type of room your child has? One of the more obvious tips from experts is making sure kids’ bedding is soft and comfortable. Just as we enjoy a comfy bed to lie down in, so do children. Simply ask them if their bedding is comfortable for them.

The amount and type of light that filters in their room will also have an effect on making your child feel sleepy. Having access to a television or electronic game will postpone the production of melatonin. This will make it almost impossible for them to be able to fall asleep. Most experts agree that turning off the television or electronic screens at least two hours before bed is the best way for the body to begin to slow down naturally.

While regular music is not recommended, there are soft, comforting songs, or a white noise machine, that will enable them to relax quickly. Just in case you are not familiar with white noise, it is simply a machine that makes sounds like are similar to a hissing or a “sh” sound. These noises are proven to relax babies and adults. White noise machines are very affordable and can be bought for as little as $15. The faster a child relaxes, the faster they will be able to fall asleep.

Sleep experts say that temperature also affects a child’s sleep cycle. Of course, you want to provide your child with blankets and clothes to keep them warm, but if they become too warm their body will be unable to find that precious deep sleep. Melatonin is responsible for regulating the body’s internal temperature while sleeping. Instead of buying thick pajamas, make sure that your child’s bedding will be effective in keeping them warm, and set your home’s temperature slightly cooler at night.

If you have noticed a change in your child’s behavior or school performance, take a look at what amount of sleep they are getting at night. Make sure that their bedtime coincides with the recommended amount of sleep that your child needs. Take a look at how comfortable your kid’s bedding is, and what you are doing to help them feel sleepy. Promote melatonin levels, and limit the amount of light and noises that they are exposed to before bed. Using all of these tips and tricks from the experts will have your child falling asleep early in no time.

Grace A.