Simple Parenting

Earlier Bedtimes Can Have Big Effects on Kids (Parents, Too!)

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How much sleep do your kids actually need?

Age 0 to 3

Your newborn should be getting 14-17 hours of sleep. At this age, it might all feel like a blur.

Age 1 to 2

You toddler should be getting 11 to 14 hours of sleep each night.

Age 3 to 5

You preschooler should be getting 10 to 13 hours of sleep each night.

Age 6 to 13

You school-aged kiddo should be getting 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night.

Age 14 to 17

Your teenager should be getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.

This chart has helpful guidance about bedtimes:

Why is it so important? 

Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics says that kids who sleep the recommended # of hours have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.

When kids are in bed early, parents do better, too. A recent study showed that moms whose school-aged kids were in bed by 8:30 p.m. had better mental health. So it’s good for the kids, and for you!

Tips for getting kids to sleep 💤 better

Number 1: Set a regular bedtime routine. In our house, that means a book, some extra cuddles and a lullaby, but it can be anything that works for your family — as long as you’re consistent.

Number 2: Shut off screens 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin. Screens make our kiddos perk up and tell their internal clock it’s not sleepy time yet

So as you get ready for the bedtime slog tonight, remember it’s never too early (or too late) to start setting good sleep habits. The whole family will reap the benefits!


Ailen is the Managing Editor at ParentsTogether. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two spirited boys.