May 31, 2008 | Home >Healthy Kids >Sleep

Sleep

Little girl playing with garden sprinkler
Hooray, Summer is finally here for my kids. All year long I had to drag their little bum’s out of bed at 7am to get ready for school.  Finally they can sleep in. Yipee!  Yeah, whatever. My kids had no such plans.  5:45AM!  I’m not exagerating! They were up at 5:45AM.  It’s Saturday, AND its’s summer! Come on kids, when are you going to start valuing the sleep-in days. When are you going to be those kids that sleep till 11:00am every day.  I won’t complain, I promise.

Kids need sleep.  Between ages 5-12 they need 10-11 hours per night.  When my kids don’t get enough sleep, they are moody, sensitive, cranky, argumentative etc.  But they have always been good sleepers. In fact, I used to tell people “My kids have always slept through the night… since they were 3 months old!” Till one day I told someone that, and my husband said, “They don’t sleep through the night, you just don’t wake up when they do.”  I sleep so soundly at night, I don’t even wake up when our kids do.  We had them in a basket in our room until they were three months, which is why I DID wake up when they did, and as soon as they went to their own rooms, I slept straight through their midnight waking.  I’m guessing they just started sleeping through the  night, cause no one was there to answer their cries.  Part of me feels like a bad parent, but part of me is glad they are such good sleepers now.

So, as a result, I can offer no advice on getting your child to sleep better, except advice I’ve heard from other people.

  1. Follow a bedtime routine.
  2. Wind down by listening to wonderful lullaby music.
  3. Go to sleep at the same time every night.
  4. Limit caffeine in the afternoon and before bed.
  5. Do not allow the bedroom to be a place for television.
  6. As we spoke about Thursday, if they need a bedtime snack, let it be a small amount of complex carbs.
  7. Keep them really active during the day, so they will be wiped out at bedtime.  (This is what we do)
READER ADVICE???
written by
Amy Roskelley

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Comments(11)
Jamie says:

We just got back from vacation in Florida. My girls woke up EVERY day by 7, no matter what time they went to bed!!! And here I was hoping they’d sleep in. 😉

My daughters go into overdrive hyper mode if they stay up past 8 o’clock.

Liz K says:

Sounds like your kids take after you Amy, considering how early you get these posts out, it seems you are quite the early riser yourself! Personally, I have never been a morning person, although I always wished I were. On those VERY rare occasions when I would wake up really early for some reason, I always seemed to get so much done before I’d normally even wake up. If only I could be that productive all the time!

Cheryl says:

Hello, I stumbled on your blog by accident, but my 4 yr old daughter had major sleep issues too (she’s now 7). It turns out that her body wasn’t producing Melatonin (shuts your brain down for sleep). And also, any amount of light in the morning hours would wake her up because Melatonin is broken down by sunlight. (She had been allowed to stay up till 3 am if she wanted from an early age by her birth family)

So my solution was Melatonin Spray (Nature’s Miracle) at the advice of her ped and a pharmacist. And also Black Out Curtains for her room. After a year or so she really didn’t need the spray anymore except on rare occasion when her sleep schedule has been interrupted and needs to be reset….like around holidays or after the summer as we get ready for school.

Anyway, ask your doctor about it, but truly it was my life saver! (Ps. I’m Marci Babcock’s cousin) I usually don’t go around giving advice to strangers, but melatonin saved my sanity!

Kristine says:

I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and I absolutely love it! Your lifestyle is one I strive to achieve with my own family!
I like your tips, but I do have to just say that the one,’
“Keep them really active during the day, so they will be wiped out at bedtime. (This is what we do)” can really backfire! Sometimes they will get over-tired and wake up millions of times during the night screaming out of frustration and exhaustion. We had this with my daughter – it was ugly. She sleeps far better if she has had two solid naps during the day.

Amy says:

Jamie, wouldn’t it be nice if vacations were so relaxing. I’m guessing in about 20 years we’ll be able to sleep in.
Liz, you are right, I am up SUPER early, but I love being up alone, with the quiet. You know what I mean. I shouldn’t get mad though, because truly they take after me as “early risers”
Cheryl: I have never heard of such a thing! Thank you so much for sharing. I bet there are some readers that will be so glad you did and have kids that suffer from the same thing!
Kristine: So true! I have forgotten the ‘overtired’ effects of the kids. It truly can be worse than not being tired enough.

wendy says:

Hi! I actually wrote a little about sleep on my blog. My advice is to start from the very beginning with good sleep habits. It sure has paid off with four kids!!

Hannah says:

My advice is to start early! The longer you wait to help your child learn to sleep well, or self soothe, the harder it is. Short term solutions may give a little extra shut eye now (car rides, swings, etc) but will make it harder in the long run. Don’t be tempted!! And they don’t get as good sleep when they aren’t stationary, so the restorative power of the sleep diminishes. Aaron is almost sleeping through the night at 11 weeks!

Amy says:

Wendy and Hannah. Absolutely, the earlier the better! And Hannah, great job with Aaron, he sounds like a great little baby!

Whitney says:

One of my favorite books ever: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. When my kids were babies, I called it ‘my other Bible.’

As someone who is a lousy sleeper, I think training my kids to be good sleepers is one of the best gifts I can give to them. Getting enough sleep helps them to be their best selves (happy kids), and well rested children are also good for my sanity. 🙂

Amy says:

Whitney, sounds like a good book. I would buy it, except there are no more kids for us. 🙁 Someone will be glad you posted that though

sandrar says:

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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