How to Get Your Children to go to Bed Early

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Published on February 26, 2020

How to Get Your Children to go to Bed Early

Graphic image of moon and stars - sweet dreamsGraphic image of moon and stars - sweet dreamsGetting children to bed is a challenge many parents face each night. Most children need more sleep than adults do, but many resist going to bed and cause stress that leads to poor sleep for the entire household. Below is a general guide that tells you how much sleep your child needs by age.

Age Range

Hours of Sleep Per Day

1 – 12 Months

14 – 15 hours

1 – 3 Years Old

12 – 14 Hours

3 – 6 Years Old

11 – 12 Hours

7 – 12 Years Old

10 – 11 Hours

13 – 18 Years Old

8 – 10 Hours

18 – 65 Years Old

7 – 9 Hours

Based on the table, a seven-year-old who wakes up at 7 am, ideally should have a bedtime between 8 and 9 pm.

Some children, like adults, need more sleep and some need less. However, sleep is very important to ensure that children meet their full potential in every aspect of their lives.

Since kids crave and thrive on structure, it’s important to have a bedtime routine. The 10 to 15 minutes before bedtime should be a wind-down period. Turn off all electronics, play relaxing music, dim the lights and speak softly. These subtle changes will let your child know that bedtime is approaching. A typical bedtime routine can consist of:

  • Taking a bath or shower
  • Putting on pajamas
  • Brushing teeth
  • Reading or telling a bedtime story
  • Good night kisses and hugs

Just as important as having a regular bedtime is to have a regular wake-up time and morning routine.

Your child’s room should promote sleep by having a cozy bed, comforting toys and a cool temperature. Additionally, a dim night light will help young children who may be afraid of the dark and a noise machine or a fan could create a rhythmic, steady sound that could lull your child to sleep.

During the day, make sure that your child gets plenty of regular exercise and fresh air. Avoid caffeinated drinks and provide a balanced, nutritious meals.

If going to bed continues to be difficult for your child, consult your pediatrician. There may be underlying health or emotional issues you may not be aware of.

To find a PIH Health pediatrician in your area, visit

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.