The Go-To Mom's 8 Sleeping Solutions for Tired Kids and Parents

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Updated on Jan 26, 2011

Children and parents both need good rest to make sure they're meeting the day with the best minds and attitudes. Lack of sleep can lead to less patience, attention and shorter tempers, so making sure you catch enough Z’s at night can mean having kids who behave better, focus better and parents who, well, parent with more patience. So what do you if your child shuns sleep?

There are eight easy things that every parent can do to get back to good nights (and days) in no time:

Figure out how much sleep your child should be getting. The amount of sleep your child needs each day varies depending on his age. The following guide can help you to determine whether or not he's getting enough shut-eye:

One year old: 13 hours Two years old: 12–15 hours (includes nap) Three years old: 11–14 hours (includes nap) Four years old: 10–13 hours (includes nap) Five years old: 10–12.5 hours (no nap)

If your child acts out, throws tantrums or has a tendency to meltdown in the early evening hours, then there’s a chance he isn't’t getting enough sleep. If he's under the age of four make sure that he takes a daytime nap on a regular schedule.

Stick to the schedule. Set a regular time for naps and bedtime and stick to it. By keeping it consistent, your child will know what to expect and his body's circadian rhythm will adjust to the sleep schedule you set. Keeping a strict sleep schedule is vital to getting more rest for both you and your child.

Plan your errands and day trips around naptime, and make sure that you stick to your night time schedule even on vacation. If your child knows that he can expect to sleep at the same time every day- no matter where you are or what you're doing, it will create better sleep habits.

Insist on “rest time” every afternoon. Young kids need to take a time-out to rest. Spend 30 minutes laying quietly with your child to encourage him to sleep. If he simply doesn’t sleep after you’ve tried to rest with him for 30 minutes then get out one of his books and continue the “rest time.”

It's important to ensure that your child has at least some quiet time each day. Some methods to create a quiet, calm atmosphere include dimming the lights, getting in bed and reading soothing stories. It will be a time to rest and recharge for the both of you.

Keep after-dinner playtime to a minimum. Too much activity close to bedtime can keep children from falling asleep. It’s okay to let them play before bedtime, but make sure any activities they participate in are of the calm and quiet variety. Puzzles, books or blocks are all great options for letting them relax.

Try sitting down to read a story or pulling up to the kitchen table with a coloring book and talk about your day together.

Make a night ritual of the bedtime routine. Having a bedtime routine is a great way for both you and your child to unwind each day. It's also a cue for him that bedtime is coming, so he'll know what to expect. Keeping the same routine also helps maintain consistency when you're not at home. This way, whether you're on vacation, spending the night at grandma’s, or leaving your child with a sitter for the night, the bedtime routine doesn’t change.

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