Big Kids, Parenting

The word is in on how much sleep your kids should be getting

Melissa Imbesi by Melissa Imbesi
May 31st, 2016

Ah, sweet, sweet sleep.  It’s up there as one of my absolute favourite things to do, but just like every other grown-up on the planet, I never seem to get enough. I’m a pretty moody lady at the best of times, but when I don’t get enough sleep I am seriously like a cut snake. In addition to my venom-spewing behaviour, not enough zzzzs leaves me feeling foggy, overwhelmed and adds an extra layer on top of my already annoying anxiety.

Because I know how it affects me, I am as vigilant as I can be about my kids getting a really good night sleep. My eight and six year-olds are generally in bed by 7.30pm every weeknight, 8pm at the absolute latest. While we don’t follow any uber-strict night time routines, I know if my kids don’t get a minimum of 10 hours sleep, they are guaranteed to be the world’s biggest drainers the following day. It starts from trying to tear them away from their beds at 7.15am, no doubt impacts their learning at school, makes dinner time a complete fucking nightmare and carries on until their little heads are on their pillows and finally in la-la land that night.

The fact is, sleep is so bloody important. Ariana Huffington of The Huffington Post is constantly banging on about how sleep deprivation is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves, and I totally agree. Sleep shouldn’t be a luxury, but rather a necessity, especially for our little ones and their ever-growing bodies and brains. But how much sleep do they really need?

This kid is going to be a nightmare come 4pm. That hair is a dead giveaway....

This kid is going to be a nightmare come 4pm. That hair is a dead giveaway….

The Raising Children Network has a great sleep guide to determine how much sleep your kids should be getting. Here’s what they recommend for your pre-school aged child and beyond:

Pre-schoolers (from 3-5 years): 11 to 13 hours per night, with some little sleepy heads still requiring an arvo nap. Recommended bedtime is around 7pm to get them ready to take on kindergarten or child care the following day.

School-aged children (from 5-9 years): 10-11 hours per night. Recommended bedtime is around 7.30pm to have them raring to learn and play for the next day at school.

Older school-aged children (from 10 until puberty hits): 9 and a 1/4  hours is the minimum recommendation here (pretty specific!) to get them well-rested before the tough stuff of hormones and puberty set it.

Teenagers: Beyond the age of 15, teens should be getting a minimum of 8-9 hours, just like us oldies! They should aim for more if they can get it because with the added stress of the later years of school, exams, relationships, puberty, etc, they really do need it.

The video below offers some really interesting insight into WHY our kids need so much sleep and how lack of sleep can affect them.

Are your kids sleep-lovers or sleep-fighters?

Constance Hall chats about how difficult life as a stay-at-home mum to little ones can be in our chat below. Have a listen and then head here to to subscribe and get more podcast goodness in your ears.

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