Sleep- Little kids fight it, parents wish they got more of it and we all need it. As moms, we all know that sleep is important for our kids. Do you really know why? And let’s talk about what us moms get to do once those kiddos do hit the hay! Ditch that guilt and enjoy that time! Good sleep is important for kids and that time they are asleep is important for mom!
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The recommended sleep times by age:
According to the National Sleep Foundation (the nap part is from my mom experience):
Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
Remember these are recommended times from the National Sleep Foundation. You may have a different routine in your house that works for you. Every kid is different.
Why is GOOD Sleep so important?
This is when the biggest percentage of growth hormones are released by your kiddos growing body! Think about when your babies are eating nonstop- they sleep way more than normal as well. Growth Spurt!!! I know when we measure Harry and Lily on the wall in the kitchen, it shows! They are growing every day.
*** Moms, when they are sleeping you need to rest so you can take care of those growing creatures. Yes, eat that chocolate bar you have been craving all day but did not want to share and do some internet shopping for the new clothes your kid is going to need!***
Sleep is good for our hearts, regulating our body weight, and it helps give the body a chance to fight off germs! We want those kiddos to have healthy hearts and bodies don’t we!? Good rest will help them excel in sports and keep them healthy so they can be in school as much as possible! Having good rest at night also reduces the risk of injury. Their rested muscles will be fresh and ready for a new day.
***We all know the house is so peaceful when they are in school and taking care of sick kids is never fun. Plus if they are sick- when they sleep there is less chance of getting a sneeze to your face. Also, you would be lying if you never thought of having one of your kids making it as a sports Super Star! When the kiddos are sleeping it is a great time to watch your fave football team and dream of your kiddo making the cut! ***
Our bodies repackage neurotransmitter chemicals that let our brain cells communicate, while it sleeps! Sleep equals more focus and a bigger attention span. Those things are key for our little darlings to succeed in school and the world! Good grades, fewer homework fights, and more classroom focus.
*** When they are sleeping its the perfect time for you moms to boost that learning by doing a little reading. Who cares if it’s a fiction novel. Focusing your brain on something not kid related when they are sleeping totally helps you have more patience for them when the little angels wake. “Go to bed, mommy needs to watch her favorite zombie show!”***
What Happens When Sleep is Not Good?
When a kid or especially a baby is kept awake longer than he or she should be, some crazy stuff happens. You probably know we all have that fight or flight instinct in us. Well, being beyond tired can trigger some of this reaction. Their little bodies produce a chemical called cortisol. This is almost like them getting a shot of adrenalin. When you keep a kid up late and they get really hyper, or when you put them to bed later hoping they will sleep later and they actually wake up earlier? This is why!!! Kids who miss out on sleep seem even harder to get to bed because they have been given a shot of energy.
Keeping a regular bedtime schedule is so important. Making your kids get the right hours at the same time each day can help you avoid the bedtime drama. There will surely be some times when they fight sleep even at their normal times (we call these regressions and I will talk about them in another blog) but be consistent. Consistency is one of THE BEST pieces of parenting advice I have ever been given.
***Mom’s you need to enjoy that kiddo bedtime. My mom always said to me that bedtime is for mommy. I agree all the way. I told my son the other day that his bedtime is my time to be just Ashton for a little while. When they are sleeping it’s mom’s break time!***
Since I have been able to be home with mine all day every day it is way easier for me to be ready for kiddo sleep time with less guilt. I have done my best to give them all the attention possible all day! This mamma is ready for that break.
You moms who work all day… I just can’t put myself in your shoes.
I’m sure the guilt over getting them to bed on time or earlier is heavy. You want to spend time with them! Just remember all the good things that come for your kid with sleep. Growth, Health, and Brain Power! Use those moments of guilt when you wish you still had them awake to :
plan something really amazing to do together in waking hours.
make a special treat for breakfast or for after nap.
write a note to your kid about a memory.
set up some toys in a fun surprise way.
and remember that if you are concerned and worried that what you do for them is not enough then you are trying! You are making and effort and that is totally enough!
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Here are some of my favorite books about Kids and sleep. We take it very seriously in my house. Kid bedtime is very rarely negotiable!