According to the National Sleep Foundation, by age 2, children have spent more time sleeping than awake. Kids who don't have good sleep habits and are chronically sleep-deprived are more likely to have behavior problems, have difficulty paying attention and learning, and be overweight. Regular schedules and bedtime rituals greatly impact a child's ability to get sound sleep and function at his best.
Establishing and maintaining good sleep habits helps your child fall asleep, stay asleep, and awake rested and refreshed. There are no hard-and-fast rules for bedtime, and every child is different based on his or her temperament. The following suggestions will help you establish and maintain good sleep habits with your kids.
Set regular go-to-bed and wake-up times for the entire family and be sure to follow them -- even on weekends.
Signs of sleep struggles include difficulty falling asleep, nighttime awakenings, snoring, stalling and resisting going to bed, having trouble breathing during sleep, and loud or heavy breathing while sleeping. It's important to discuss and agree on a sleep strategy for your child with your spouse or partner beforehand and work together as a team to carry it out consistently. If you are starting a new sleep routine for your child, make her part of the team by explaining the new plan to her if she is old enough to understand.

A nightly bedtime routine helps your child learn to be sleepy, just like reading in bed often puts adults to sleep.
There is no one right routine for everyone, but in general, your routine should include all the things that your child needs to do before going to sleep, including brushing teeth, washing up, putting on PJs, and having a snack or drink of water. Kids will always ask for that one last thing -- kisses, hugs, a drink of water, using the bathroom, just one more book.
Beard was in a private practice for 10 years before becoming a civilian pediatrician at Fort McPherson, Ga., and when it closed in 2011, she retired from the federal government. And when kids don't get enough sleep, they have a harder time controlling their emotions, and they may be irritable or hyper, which is no fun for anyone. So although it's not easy, it's important to do all you can to help your child establish good sleep habits. What's important is to develop a routine for good sleep habits that works for your family -- and to stick with it. You can tell that children are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed, wake up easily in the morning, and don't fall asleep during the day. In fact, a 2009 article in the journal Sleep found that a consistent nighttime routine improved sleep in children who had mild to moderate sleep problems. The structure of bedtime routines also associates the bedroom with good feelings and provides a sense of security and control.

Whatever you choose to do, keep the routine short (30 minutes or less, not including a bath) and be firm about ending it when it's time to sleep. For optimal comfort, a good rule of thumb is to dress your child basically as you dress yourself, keeping in mind that younger children often kick off the covers at night and are unable to cover themselves. She now practices at an urgent care facility and does contract work for the Military Entrance Processing Station at Fort Gilliam.
If your child seems overtired, sleepy, or cranky during the day, tell your child's health care provider. Avoid large snacks too close to bed, especially with older kids, because a full stomach can interfere with sleep. Causes of sleep difficulties may be as simple as large tonsils and adenoids, which can be determined during a routine examination.

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