Parenting: Bedtime rules
May 18, 2011 (WPVI) -- Being the parent who has the tough task of getting Nicholas out of bed in the morning, it's up to me to determine if he's getting enough sleep through the night.
Sometimes he's pretty sluggish after I wake him up (especially Monday mornings). So I set out to determine what is the proper amount of sleep for a 9-year-old?
The consensus among the various pediatricians I've talked to is this: A 9-year-old needs about 10 hours of sleep a night, but sleep patterns can vary a bit from child to child. Still the range is between 8 to 12 hours of sleep. It's up the parent to determine where their child falls in that range. 8 hours of sleep may be enough.
And if the child often seems extra sluggish or irritable in the morning, here's some rules that have helped me with my son. Like no television in the hour before bedtime. TV can be a stimulant for children, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep. Having Nicholas read 20 to 30 minutes before bed has been helpful in getting him to fall asleep. Doctors say some foods like chocolate or caffeinated drinks can also act like a stimulant, so you may want to limit those things before bed-time as well.
And one more thing I've discovered. If a child is put to bed before he or she is really tired, there can be quite a bit of frustration.
Sending them bed early as a disciplinary measure is one thing. But I've found that if a youngster is forced to go to bed one or two hours before they're actually ready to fall asleep, then the chances of a restful night for both of you may be threatened.
rick williams parenting reports, parenting, rick williams
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