Figure Out When Your Child Should Go to Bed with This Printable Kid’s Bedtime Chart
First, we share average bedtimes for ages three to nine, depending on what time your child gets up and whether or not they take a nap. We also give you a range of healthy bedtimes in case your kid needs a little more or less sleep than the average child.
How can you tell if your child isn’t getting enough sleep?
Adequate sleep is crucial for social and emotional skill development from focus to flexibility. Keep your eyes open for these signs that your kid may not be getting enough rest:
You have to wake them up, often multiple times before they’ll get out of bed.
They’re sluggish in the morning, rubbing their eyes and acting lethargic.
They sleep in on weekends.
They fall asleep on brief car trips.
They’re cranky during the day, especially in the late afternoon and early evening. They may also have other behavioral signs, like hyperactivity, attention issues or aggression.
They’re clingy and anxious.
They don’t fall asleep easily, and/or they get up very early. Paradoxically, when kids act amped up at night or get up before dawn, it’s often because they’re not getting enough rest. When kids get overtired, their bodies produce hormones that can keep them up late or wake them up early.
What if you suspect your child isn’t getting enough rest?
If these signs sound familiar (or a new schedule means your child needs to get up earlier), try putting your kid to bed 15 minutes before their current bedtime. Do they fall asleep quickly? Do they wake up on their own? If so, keep moving bedtime up 15 minutes every night or two until they are getting up at the target wake-up time and go from falling asleep easily (under 20 minutes for most kids) to having trouble getting to sleep. That’s when you’ve found your sweet (dreams) spot. Then be consistent, including sticking to the same sleep schedule on weekends. Works like a dream!