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Bedtime talks with Children

Updated on January 9, 2016
Dr Vishal Varia profile image

Dr. Varia is a humble educationist, thinker and contributor in the field of education, parenting and character development.

What is the ideal amount of sleep required for a child?

Sound sleep is very much essential for balanced growth of the child. A child who is having sound sleep on regular basis will be able to focus properly in work, will develop sharp mind, have proper observation and assimilation and will perform better in class. Thus sound sleep is very essential for the growth of the child. As it is said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a person health, wealthy, and wise.” Generally, children should wake up by 7:00 am in the morning and made ready for school. On returning from school and after meal the child should be made to rest for atleast 2 hours so that the energy levels can be balanced. Afternoon sleep enables a child with better focus in the activities in the post lunch session. The child will readily do the home work and other such academic assignments if such rest is taken in the noon session. The regular routine for the child in food and sleep will provide vigour and vitality to the child resulting in proper and balanced growth.

The doctors mention the following number of hours towards the sleep of the child as per age:

a) 0 to 2 months: 16 to 18 hours

b) 3 months to 12 months: 14 to 15 hours

c) 1 to 3 years: 12 to 14 hours

d) 3 to 5 years: 11 to 13 hours

e) 5 to 12 years: 10 to 12 hours

What should be the ideal bedtime for the child?

Just as the balanced food serves nutrition to the body, like wise sound sleep is also an essential nutrition for the body. It is with sound sleep that the body completes its background functions like digestion, rhythmic respiration, proper blood flow, etc. Thus sound sleep serves as nutrition to the body. Modern age has become very fast, we want things quickly and achieve quickly but when it comes to upbringing of the child one has to slow down to the requirement of the child. Late night parties or night outs should be avoided for the child. Children should go to bed by 9:00 pm or latest by 9:30 pm so that they wake up fresh at around 7:00 am next morning. With this bed time schedule the child will get proper rest and the background functions of the body perform better.

Ideal Duration of Sleep for Kids


What should be the ideal duration from dinner to bedtime?

Considering that the child should go to bed at night by 9:00 pm, the child should be served dinner by 7:30 pm or latest by 8:00 pm. Ideally there should be a lag of around one hour between the dinner and the bed time of the child. This lag will help the child to digest the food better and will not have digestion issues during sleep time. Many parents have a habit of taking their child to bed just after the dinner. This should be avoided as this can lead to problems like indigestion, obesity, sleeping disorder, etc. A time lag between dinner to bed time will ensure that the food gets settled in the stomach and the child will not be disturbed with vomiting or burping issues. However, it is advisable to provide a cup full of milk before bed time which will ensure the filling of the belly and thereby giving the child the drowsy effect that is necessary for sleep.

What should be the ideal bedtime environment for the child?

The ideal bed time environment for the child should be silent, cozy and comfortable. The room should have dim or indirect lighting ensuring the child with proper visibility in case he/she wakes up in the night. A good night lamp is a better solution to this. Complete dark room may frighten the child in case he/she wakes up in the middle of the night and finds its complete dark. The bed of the child should be made fresh with fresh covers and blanquettes as such fresh fragrance will serve good aroma enabling the child to get proper sleep. It is always advisable to surround the child with plushy soft toys so that the child feels as if he/she is not alone in the bed and thereby gets sound and fearless sleep. However, care should be taken for proper aeration and ventilation for better rhythmic respiration.

Ideal bedtime environment


What kind of talks would you make your child listen during bedtime?

Just as proper food and comfortable environment is essential for the sound sleep of child. Likewise, good talks and positive thoughts are essential for a peaceful sleep for the child. The bed time talks should be very encouraging and motivating the child for good behavior and actions. It is generally found that the children will dream about those fantasies that will be there in the mind last when they fall asleep. Thus we should ensure that the child should be discussed with talks that promotes good values, instills confidence and removes fear from the mind of the child. This will serve as a platform for a peaceful and non disturbing sleep to the child. The child must be told stories of bravery, Godly acts, and good characters, fairies and fantasies where the good prevails over the evil. Care should be taken to describe those stories; focus should be made on to better and emphatic description of good values and short and non disturbing description of bad values. For example, while making the child listen to a fairy tale more emphasis should be made to describe the good values of the fairy and not to the unhealthy values of demon.

The child should be made to sleep by cozy feeling and warm touch along with health talks. One should ensure that the child receives the parental care and affection during bet time. As an Indian tradition, in some houses it is the duty of the grandparents to take the child to bed. In such case the grandparents should try to follow the ideal environment for the child to sleep without being imperative to sleep in certain fashion.

Thus, a discussion with child during bed time should contain talks for positivity, and good values before the sleep.

Ensuring a routine and disciplined time table for the child will instill good qualities with good habits and overall balanced development of the child.

Whats your preference?

What kind of talks would you prefer to talk to your kids during bedtime?

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