What Time Should I Put My Kids To Bed?

3 Min Read | By Laura Barns

Last Modified 31 March 2023   First Added 1 September 2014

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

Deciding what time your kids should go to bed can be a bit of a nightmare for parents. Because so much depends on your child’s age, personality, energy level and individual sleep pattern, getting it right can be a little tricky.

To help out all you Mums and Dads, Dreams have done some research into the subject and we’ve come up with a few key guidelines and general tips that might make life a little easier.

The smaller they are, the longer they’ll sleep

For one to two year old children, health experts actually recommend a whopping 14 hours sleep a day. This should normally comprise of a two hour snooze around mid-day, then a 12 hour marathon from about 7pm to 7 am. This nice long rest for the toddler also works out as a nice long break for Mum and Dad…if all goes to plan.

Child sleeping

For 3 to 6 year olds, aim for about 12 hours

This sleep pattern is very similar to the one for little ones, except without the after lunch nap. If they do drop off in the daytime though, simply add an hour to bedtime. This will ensure they aren’t getting too much sleep or ruining their sleep pattern.

Related: What Is A Normal Bedtime For Your Child?

For 7 to 12 year olds, go for about 11 hours

The older your kids become, the more difficult it is trying to get them to go to bed, but try your best to make sure they get around 11 hours whenever possible. In this age group, sleep is a big contributor towards alertness and memory throughout the day, so if you don’t want to get a letter telling you your child has nodded off in the classroom then aim for a 9pm ‘lights out’.

How much sleep is enough?

Like we said earlier, a lot depends on your particular child so there is no magical number of hours required by all kids in a certain age group. Generally, you’ll know if your kids are getting enough sleep by their behaviour throughout the day. When adults are tired they’re often have low energy, but in some kids tiredness can result in their being hyper and disagreeable, so watch out for the signs.

Child yawning

Try and keep to a set routine

We know this is easier said than done, but keeping to the same bedtime routine at the same time every evening can be a big help. For instance, it might be: 1. Shower 2. Put on pajamas 3. Brush teeth 4. Read a story 5. Put out the main light and switch to a nightlight 6. Say goodnight and leave the room

We hope we’ve been of some help and that getting your kids off to bed without any major hassles becomes a regular routine in your home. Sleep matters a lot and is essential to your child’s health and growth, so doing everything you can to make sure they get plenty of it is well worth the effort.


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