Early bed times? What is considered “early” may in fact not be early enough.
Bed time in your house may sometimes be peaceful but may sometimes be a battlefield. We may deal with children that have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and of course those endless negotiations. We can see restless sleep, night terrors and very early wake times. I see and deal with all of these issues with clients on a daily basis and there is always one common denominator. Bed time. It’s too late.
There are many factors involved in establishing healthy sleep habits for our babies and children, but if I was asked to pick ONE thing, ONE tool that I would like to tell parents about; it would have to be The Power of Early Bed times!
In working with so many families, and even looking back at my own experiences prior to becoming a certified sleep consultant the big mistake most of us make is that we put our children to bed too late .
Age appropriate bed times for babies and young children is anywhere from as early as 5pm-7:30pm. Yes… you did read 5pm. It is probably the most shocking moment in a consult with my families when I tell them that little Susie needs a 5pm bed time tonight. Your bed time routine should be consistent, but the bed time hour should fluctuate within this range. It is important to look at the quality and quantity of your child’s overall sleep. What were their naps like? Was any day sleep missing? How long have they been awake since their last nap of the day? We need to compensate for any missed sleep with an earlier bed time. Let me assure you, the early bed time does not equate to early rising. As the wise pediatrician and sleep expert Dr Marc Weissbluth once said “It’s not logical, it’s biological”.
Simply put, children need so much more sleep than we realize. When we use the power of early bed times, it will allow us to always manage our children’s sleep and keep them well rested.