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How do I know how to set the right bedtime for my child?

Back to School Season means all.the.things! As parents we are busily gathering supplies, meeting the teacher, filling out the first day of school signs (I still do this with my 16 year old :), and picking out just the right outfit… But are you setting your child up for school success?

Are they arriving to school that first day well rested? Or have they already started the year and you want to know if they are getting enough sleep?

Are you wondering how to go about figuring out what time your child’s bedtime needs to be? I can help!

Check out this chart to answer all your most pressing timing questions about your individual child’s bedtime needs.

Based on sleep research, I created a chart that reflects total sleep needs for each age and bedtimes that allow for total sleep before different different wake times.

The bedtime listed for your Wake Time is a great place to start to fine tuning your schedule for your individual child’s sleep needs.

Questions to ask yourself to fine tune the ideal schedule for your child…

What is your child’s mood at Wake Time?

  • Do you have a hard time waking them? Consider when they are falling asleep and adjust bedtime routines to allow for your child to get more sleep or get caught up on sleep.
  • Does your child wake on their own happily? You nailed it. Your child is getting the sleep their body needs because they are waking naturally and their mood tells you that their brains were able to fully restore over night to be ready to tackle their day.
  • Does your child wake easily but does not seem rested? Consider moving bedtime up. Test it for 3-5 days, and then make adjustments if you do not see an improvement in their mood.

Remember to start new routines with WAKING your child earlier first, before moving up bedtime! If your child has been sleeping until 8:15am and will need to be awake at 7:15am to get ready for school, start waking them at 7:15am and getting dressed and out to play in the sunlight or run errands so that at night your child will be tired for an early bedtime. I always allow a week to set routines if Summer or vacation routines have thrown off schedules. For a fun way to help your community reset back to school routines, visit this post to learn how to plan a Sleep Happy Wake Up Party in your neighborhood.

What about weekends? Maintaining similar wake times and bedtimes on the weekends and holidays will help maintain your child’s body clock. For example if your 6 year old stays up late and sleeps until 10am on Sunday, he is not going to be able to naturally work up the sleep debt to be ready to fall asleep at 7:30pm on Sunday night, therefore making it hard to wake him at 6:30am for first grade.

Setting regular predictable boundaries for sleep where children feel confident in their routine and understand their jobs for resting their body means will be SET for SCHOOL SUCCESS. Which in turn leads to happier quality time at the end of the day as a family.

Expert Tip: Kindergarten Parents, as a former Kindergarten teacher and mother of three I like to mention that the first semester of Kindergarten for students attending school for a full day for the first time is EXHAUSTING. I recommend not signing children up for afterschool activities and sports practices until second semester after you have given them time to adjust to this new schedule. You will have days when your child is done at 6:30pm and you can barely make it through dinner. You don’t want to be negotiating with them to go to choir practice or to get the shin guards on for soccer. I recommend scheduling this activities for Saturday morning if they are a must or holding off until second semester at least.

Bedtime taking too long? Your child struggling to calm their body at bedtime? Do you feel anxious as it gets closer and close to the end of the day because every night is a different challenge with your bedtime routine? Or maybe you just have more specific about your families schedule… I am here to help reset bedtime routines in as little as THREE DAYS!

Looking for support reaching your bedtime goal for your child FAST? Schedule a Free 15 minute consultation to discuss your family’s goal and discover what Sleep Happy Support Package best meets your needs.

Any Mama Friends in the same quandary about bedtime, be sure to share this post.

Happy Back-to-School Everyone!

Is your toddler or preschooler waking you multiple times a night and you just can’t figure out why? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to help you reflect on these wakings:

1. Is there a Pain or Need?
2. Is their Day Sleep Normal?
3 Is there a Habit?
4. Is your child Confident in their bedtime routine?
5. Is there anything you could add to their Sleep Environment safely to make it cozier?

The REAL reasons your toddler or preschooler is waking up are that they are going down overtired OR they do not feel confident in their bedtime routine OR they do not feel confident in calming themselves back to sleep and call out for their soother OR they have a habit of eating in the night OR they have learned they can get up and be rewarded by sleeping with parents OR all of the above.

The good news is that children are quick learners and with Sleep Happy support you can ELIMINATE night wakings and bedtime struggles in 3 days!
Think about this! Toddlers and preschoolers learn about their world by interpreting patterns in their day. They crave structure and repetition because it helps them process their world and begin to predict what is coming next. This makes children feel safe. (And can really get old for parents, anyone out there reading the same book every night and ready to pull their hair out???) When children feel safe, they test the boundaries less. They are confident and feel in control of their routines! In other words, bedtime runs smoothly and children sleep well!

If you are struggling with bedtime or multiple wakings a night, I encourage you to reflect on your current routines. Use the questions above to think through your daily routines and ask yourself if there are any inconsistencies that could be confusing to your child.

At Sleep Happy, we start with the child development behind bedtime struggles and we give parents the skills and the practicable tools to EMPOWER their children to be confident happy sleepers for life!

Still get confused by Daylight Savings? Spring Forward means setting your clock forward 1 hour this Spring (= lose 1 hour). So, a typical 7pm bedtime becomes 6pm with your child waking up an hour earlier.
How do you plan to help your child adjust to “losing an hour” this Saturday, March 10th?

Option A:  Do nothing.  “My little ones adjust easily and/or we have an early bedtime right now so Springing Forward will actually help our schedule.”

Option B:  Shift your schedule forward starting tomorrow morning and use light to help your little one’s body shift their body clock one hour earlier.  “My children are more sensitive and take longer to adjust to the time change.”
Here are some tips to help you with Option B:

Use Light as a Signal
Dim the lights one hour before bedMove outdoor playtime to the morning to leave time for an earlier bedtimeMove any screen time to the morningBegin using quieter voices when lights are dimmed
Wake 15 Minutes Earlier Each Morning Starting on Wednesday

Wake 15 Minutes Earlier Each Morning Starting on Wednesday
By waking your little one 15 minutes earlier than normal, they will be tired for nap earlier, wake from nap earlier and be ready for bed earlier.  Repeat this method for each of the four days so that when you reach the day the time shifts, your child’s new schedule will match their pre-DST schedule.

FOR INFANTS who nap well you can apply this principle to their last nap instead of morning wake up.

Are you a new mom?  Have you started reading the books and information about sleep but don’t know where to start?

Join us for workshop focus on newborn sleep.  Where you will have all your questions answered!

Small Pockets Boutique in Dallas has invited Sleep Happy back to host TWO classes in October because you wanted more info on SLEEP!

Tuesday, October 16th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Click here to register:  Bit.ly/PMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Wednesday, October 17th from 10am to 12noon
Click here to register:  Bit.ly/AMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Cost:  $75
We heard you and we have improved our Newborn Workshop to include an evening and a morning class AND a longer class for more time for Q&A!

Class Description:  Become equipped with practicable tools to use with your newborn.  This class teaches you how to take all the overwhelming messages parents are bombarded with today and use them to tailor the right approach for your unique baby and parenting style.

Come build your confidence in a positive and encouraging environment!

Registration is filling up, buy your tickets today!

Tuesday, October 16th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Click here to register:  Bit.ly/PMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Wednesday, October 17th from 10am to 12noon
Click here to register:  Bit.ly/AMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Class will be hosted in the Tea Room at Small Pockets Boutique at 12300 Inwood Road Dallas 75244.
For more information, feel free to call Jessica at 214-435-2169 or send an email to jessica@sleephappyconsulting.com.