Go to sleep! When light nights mess with your child’s bedtime routine
The complete guide to getting your children into a good bedtime routine – even when the sun is shining.
‘But it’s still light outside!’ ‘Can I have one more cuddle?’ ‘I’m scared!’ As many a mum can testify, some kids will do absolutely anything to get out of entering the land of nod, no matter how tired they are. So what do you do when you’re longing for your evening me-time and are acutely aware that unless your kids get to sleep soon, they’ll be irritable, un-cooperative and unable to concentrate on anything tomorrow
Maryanne Taylor, child sleep consultant and founder of The Sleep Works, advises parents whose kids struggle to sleep to invest in a good blackout blind – and you can get portable ones to take on holiday too. ‘In the summer months, a child’s bedtime will be when it’s still light outside. The sleep hormone, melatonin, is very much connected to light and dark and too much light can inhibit the production of it,’ she explains.
Time for bed
The general rule of thumb is that under three’s need 12 hours sleep a night; four to six year-olds need between 10.5-11.5 hours; six to 12 year olds around 10 hours and teenagers about eight to nine hours. ‘Yet research from the Sleep Council found that more than a third of seven to 14 year-olds don’t go to bed until around 9pm on a school night,’ says Lisa.
Good bedtime habits
Ensure kids don’t rely on a sleep crutch to fall asleep, such as a parent’s presence in the room or even patting or holding hands, says Maryanne. ‘It’s essential to encourage your child to fall asleep independently without a reliance on a parent during bedtime.’
Maryanne established The Sleep Works in 2010. She is a qualified and experienced Sleep Consultant who has helped hundreds of parents with their children’s sleep problems. She also works with adults to educate, support and motivate them to improve their sleep. She gives many talks and workshops on child and adult sleep, has written numerous articles, and has appeared on Channel 4's 'Born Naughty?' show. Find out more about Maryanne and The Sleep Works.