There is little consensus among parents about what a suitable bedtime is for children, from infancy through preschool age. Many parents desire more time with their children after work, which is certainly understandable, but an earlier bedtime will make for a more well-rested child, which will in turn make the time you spend with your little one more enjoyable for both of you.
- Fewer night wakings. When you put your child to bed early, when he is not overtired, he learns to master the skill of putting himself to sleep. The earlier you put him to sleep, the better you are preparing him for a lifetime of rousing in the night and settling himself back to sleep. This means fewer night wakings as a child and sets him up for better sleep in the future.
- No more early rising. Many parents think that their children will sleep later if they are overtired, but the opposite is actually true. When our bodies are overtired, they secrete hormones which make it more difficult for us to fall asleep and stay asleep, and will lead to early rising. This means less sleep for your child and for you!
- Reduce bedtime struggles. When children are overtired, they are far more likely to throw temper tantrums, become uncooperative, and maintain power struggles. At bedtime, it’s enormously important for children to have better control over their emotions and their behavior, so that they can more easily settle and get to sleep without arguments. Putting your child to bed at an earlier hour means that you’ll be putting a far more cooperative kid to sleep!
- Get your child to sleep more quickly. An overtired child will have a harder time falling asleep, which is counter-intuitive to many people. However, as we mentioned previously, those hormones that cause frequent night wakings in overtired children also cause difficulties falling asleep.
- Set up healthy habits. When you consistently put your child to bed early, you are sending her the message that an early, consistent bedtime is a priority. As she grows older, her bedtime will shift later, of course, but she’ll grow into adulthood understanding the importance of getting a solid night’s rest.
If you have shifted your child to an earlier bedtime, what benefits have you seen as a result? Let us know in the comments section!