Bedtime is a constant struggle with kids. What is especially hard to understand about bedtime is, what time certain aged children should actually go to bed. How are we supposed to know?
What’s an appropriate bedtime for 7-year-olds? 7-year-olds should be in bed by around 8:00 depending on when they have to get up in the morning. 7-year-old children generally need 10 – 11 hours of sleep per day which makes an 8:00 bedtime perfect because they will get their full night’s rest and still be up in the morning by 6:45 to get ready for the day.
Figuring out a child’s proper sleep schedule and setting a specific sleep pattern for them is super hard. We totally get it! Not only is it hard to figure out their bedtime, but it’s also hard to get them to bed! How do we remedy the bedtime nightmare?
When a 7-Year-Old Should Go to Bed and Why?
A 7-year-old, as I mentioned before, needs roughly 10-11 hours of sleep at night. Having your 7-year-old go to bed between 7 and 9, depending on what time they need to wake up, gives the children enough time to get this quality sleep that they need to have.
Without enough sleep, your child can get super cranky, not do as well in school, and especially throw more and irrational temper tantrums.
This can result in a not so fun problem to deal with that we would all rather avoid. To help try to solve this problem, I have provided a chart for you below on appropriate bedtimes for different ages and wake-up times.
When Should Your Child Go to Bed?
This chart information is provided by the courtesy of Asher Fogle from goodhousekeeping.com.
Bedtimes are important for kids not only because it helps provide them with enough sleep, but it also helps to establish a routine.
With this routine of going to bed at a certain time every evening, the child is never mentally exhausted by trying to keep up with an out of sorts lifestyle. It has been proven that children do much better with routine in their lives.
Another reason that establishing a bedtime routine is important for your child is because the routine will signal to your kid’s brain and body that it is time to start winding down and getting ready to go to sleep.
Even if you don’t have bedtime at the same time every night, having a bedtime routine or ritual is a great way to trigger these effects.
This ritual or routine, whatever you prefer to call it, can be a process of brushing your teeth, putting on pajamas, setting out tomorrows clothes, and reading a book before turning off the light.
A solid, continuous routine of activities will slowly train your brain when that whenever you do this, it is time to go to sleep and your kid will have an easier time settling down as you continue to do this.
What Happens If My Child Doesn’t Get Enough Sleep?
It is super necessary for children to get enough sleep at night for plenty of reasons. But, what happens when my child doesn’t get enough sleep at night? What does it effect?
It actually can affect a lot when your child doesn’t get enough sleep. Below, I have included a couple of lists: one of the symptoms of a lack of sleep in your child and the other of the many things a lack of sleep can affect.
- falling asleep at inappropriate times
- lack of motivation
- lack of attentiveness
- shortened attention span
- needs regular naps still
- irrational tantrums
What It Effects:
- poor ability to do school work
- increased anxiety
- increased stress
- difficulty learning
- weaker immune system
- worse health
- possible obesity
- possible depression
- possible anxiety
- stunt growth
When your child doesn’t get enough sleep, not only are they cranky, but they also don’t do as well in their daily activities due to a lack of their necessary energy.
A lack of sleep can even lead to severe problems such as obesity, anxiety, and depression which all are no good to deal with, especially at such a young age.
A lack of proper sleep can drastically affect and even hurt your health in a crazy number of ways. This all can be avoided, though, by simply getting enough sleep at night.
As you can see from just the few symptoms and problems that occur from a lack of sleep, it isn’t good to not have a solid routine and method of getting enough sleep at night.
Without enough sleep, you might as well be delusional! It’s not pretty!
What Can I Do to Help Bedtime Go Smoother?
Now, you probably understand the importance of a bedtime, but how can it be better enforced? Lucky for you I have some ideas.
One of the things that will help your bedtime go better is having a nightly ritual or routine. This routine should include a number of things I have listed below.
Routine for Bedtime:
- prepping for the next day (outfit, lunch, etc.)
- take a bath
- brushing teeth
- putting on pajamas
- putting away electronics
- crawling into bed
This routine can include other things that would help as well, but don’t have to include these specific things.
Optional Routine Add-Ins:
- bedtime snack
Having a simple, short routine of bedtime prep activities, as I have stated, helps to train your child’s brain that when you do these things, they start getting sleepy and settling down for bed.
Creating a routine also helps to not stress our your kid’s brain. Studies show that a set routine helps kids to stay more relaxed and focused. Without a routine in place, kids tend to be more stressed and anxious and less likely to get the adequate sleep and care they need.
Another thing that could help your child sleep better at night is having a set sleep environment. This environment should include a few specific things: a dark room, a quiet atmosphere, a cool (but not cold) room, and your child’s favorite doll or blankie.
These environment circumstances will help your child relax and start to settle down and go to sleep without too much trouble. Any loud noise or bright lights will distract your kid from going to sleep.
Having a blanket or doll will help your child be comfortable and feel safe since they will be separated from you to sleep.
When going to bed, your child will do the “one more thing! one more thing!” game as much as they can to avoid going to bed. This game is simply an avoidance and stall tactic to make it so they have to keep getting up and walking around instead of going to bed.
To help avoid this game happening, give your kids a small glass of water and have them go to the bathroom before you put them to bed.
Anything else they ask for they will have to wait for until the morning. By doing so, they won’t have viable excuses to use and it will be easier to convince them to stay in bed and go to sleep.
Another thing you can do for bedtime is making sure that your child is dressed in proper pajamas. The house should be cool, but not cold, for one.
But basically, put your kid in the same type of pajamas you are putting on yourself and make sure they have an adequate amount of blankets on their bed.
This is because younger children tend to kick around and thrash in their beds which will result in them kicking their own covers a lot and often can’t put them back on themselves.
Night-time Activities That Will Help Wind Down
A big struggle in the evenings for a lot of families, is making sure the kids don’t get buzzed up right before they are supposed to go to bed.
This is very crucial; because getting the kids riled up and excited right before they are supposed to settle down is very counteractive to your purpose of winding down before bed.
Sometimes, it is hard to know what to do with your kids before bedtime so that they can do something nice and relaxing, yet still fun without getting crazy again. I have some ideas that might be helpful though.
One of my ideas is movie night. When growing up my mom sometimes would do movie night before bed. We would get popcorn as our bedtime snack and we could sit and watch a kids movie.
This was a great activity because my siblings and I all had fun but weren’t getting all buzzed up again from playing and we were able to relax before having to go to bed.
Another activity I have heard of people doing is night walks. The parents would get all of the kids together and they would go on a walk around the neighborhood before settling down for bed.
This activity is great because it helps to tire out the kids a bit and relax before having to go to bed. You won’t have to worry about your kids having so much energy right as they are settling down which means they will fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night as well because you burned all of the extra energy.
Another bedtime activity that I enjoyed was getting into pajamas and curling up on the back porch in a blanket and looking at the stars for a little while.
The dark and quiet atmosphere outside when stargazing is relaxing and mimics your nice sleeping environment in your bedroom almost which helps to start signaling to your brain that it is time to settle down.
Calm bedtime activities such as these and more are wonderful for enjoying something fun without getting crazy and helping to wind down the energy again before starting your bedtime routine and crawling into bed.
They help to start settling down the mind and calm your child enough to make bedtime much easier.
Some kids have troubles going to bed or staying awake, not because of their natural lack of sleep, but because of a lack of being able to get enough of the proper sleep.
This is from sleep disorders. Yes. Children can have sleep disorders and it actually really affects them as well.
Children can have a multitude of sleep disorders and they aren’t fun. These disorders can include snoring, apnea, insomnia, and many others.
I will only be able to go over a few of the common disorders today, but I would highly recommend going to see a doctor if you are providing a proper sleep schedule and the child still isn’t getting better.
Snoring is a very common sleeping disorder and is often not seen as one because it is so common. Basically, what happens is that something is blocking a clear and uninterrupted path of breathing.
It can be caused by a multitude of things, but the excessive snoring may be disrupting your child’s sleep cycle preventing them from getting the necessary deep sleep.
Another common sleeping disorder among children is Arousal Disorders and this isn’t quite what you think. This doesn’t mean they keep waking up at night but, rather, they keep coming out of their deep sleep in the middle of the night for whatever reason.
A lot of times this is due to sleepwalking and similar things.
Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing unknowingly whilst sleeping and you wake up because you need to breathe again. This sleeping disorder has multiple types and can cause problems because every time you stop breathing you wake up again and again.
A common sleeping disorder that kids happen to have is insomnia. This, if you don’t already know, is basically difficulty getting tired and, more specifically falling asleep.
It can be short- or long-term and can greatly impact your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
There are plenty more sleep disorders that your kid may have like simple sleep-walking or sleep terrors as well and I would definitely look into your child’s troubles sleeping if it is more than just not having a bedtime routine.
If your child is having troubles sleeping I would definitely consult a doctor for further help and advice.
Good luck with your further bedtime adventures, struggles, and peaceful times. I hope that this all helps you to have a smoother bedtime routine in your home and helps not just your 7-year-old, but you sleep better as well.