5-year-olds can stay up until 9pm? An expert's view on bedtimes by age
“If a child is taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, consider whether the bedtime is unrealistically early."
Getting your child to sleep can be a challenge at any time, but we all know how important the right amount of sleep is when it comes to their mood... and your sanity!
According to sleep consultant Lisa Meakin, because the average amount of sleep required for a child changes with age, bedtime should be revised and tweaked regularly.
So what is the perfect time to send children to bed?
According to Lisa, a one-year-old child should be getting around 12 hours sleep. This roughly translates to babies being put to bed at 7pm, until 7am the next morning.
The average 2 year old, Lisa says, needs 11-13 hours of sleep in 24 hours. This includes daytime naps, so if a child is sleeping for 90 minutes during the day, they only need 10.5 hours overnight.
Five-year-old children need slightly less sleep, and can stay up as late as 9pm, according to Lisa.
Another well-known sleep expert, Lyndsey Hookway says children's sleep varies enormously both by age, and from child to child. So how will you know if your child's bedtime is right for them?
Lisa explains: “If a child is taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, consider whether the bedtime is unrealistically early."
Alternatively, if you think their bedtime may be too late, she suggests, "it's a good idea to try to inch it earlier by a very small amount to allow the child's body clock to adjust slowly."
And what about naps? Both experts advise that children shouldn’t take naps after 3pm, and that a bedtime routine should be set to allow babies and children to settle before bed.
If only it was always that easy eh? Lisa understands that things don't always go to plan. "Painting an unrealistic image of children's sleep times often leads to frustration at bedtimes, and parents feeling like either they, or their children are getting it 'wrong'."