Getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge whatever age you are - but for parents, trying to make sure your children get off to bed can be the stuff of nightmares.
Anyone with children will know that while screaming babies can be difficult, anxious and overexcited youngsters are even more challenging when it comes to enforcing a sleep routine.
Like all of us, they want to stay up as late as possible, and quite often want to get their sleep during the day, so getting them down at a set time every night can be a real struggle.
With all of those problems, keeping track of their sleeping to make sure they are getting the right amount can seem overwhelming - and for many parents who are just happy to see their children sleeping at all, more trouble than it’s worth. Help is at hand, however.
Exactly when is bedtime?
A chart created by pupils at Wilson Elementary school in Wisconsin is being shared widely online as a potential solution.
The chart covers children aged from five to 12 and shows parents exactly when their children should be going to bed, based on when they got up in the morning - with bedtimes for five-year-olds starting as early as 6.45pm, while 11- and 12-year-olds should start getting some sleep from around 8.15pm.
So a five-year-old who has risen at the crack of dawn at 6am should be ushered off to bed at 6.45pm, while one who has slept in until 7.30am should be going to bed at around 8.30pm
For an eight-year-old, rising at 6am means bedtime at 7.30pm, while getting up at around 7.30am means they should be getting down to sleep at around 9pm.
And for 12-year-olds, who should hopefully have a well-established sleeping routine, the timing can be a bit more flexible. As a rule of thumb, if they get up at 6.30am they should be off to bed no later than 8.45pm, and if they sleep in until 7.30am, bedtime would be around 9.45pm.
The full chart can be found online here.
We know that sufficient sleep is absolutely vital for a child’s health, but recent research has also shown that consistent bedtimes and meal times reduce the risk of childhood obesity. One study even found that putting kids to bed early can make for a happier family overall.
How much sleep does my child need?
While studies vary on exactly how much sleep people need, there a few general guidelines and Sleep.org, part of the National Sleep Foundation, has listed the recommended amount of sleep for babies up to teens.
Newborns (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
Infants (four to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
Toddlers (one to two): 11 to 14 hours
Preschoolers (three to five): 10 to 13 hours
School-age (six to 13): nine to 11 hours
Tweens and Teens (14 to 17): eight to 10 hours
The NHS has also suggested a four-year-old should have 11 hours and 30 minutes, gradually decreasing to nine hours for a teen of 16.