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It's not only babies who need a bedtime routine. Older children do too. Children who get enough sleep are happier and far nicer to be with than tired, grumpy ones.

But if they're used to going to bed when they want, they aren't going to like these changes. So stay firm and be prepared for a few tough nights. And just think, you could soon have the TV (and the settee) all to yourself!

Warn them in advance

It's only fair to let them know what you're planning and why. Explain that you don't think they're getting enough sleep and from now on, bedtime will be at a fixed time, every single night. They can complain all they want, but you're in charge and you won't be changing your mind.

Agree a reasonable time

You can't expect a 10 year old to go to bed at 7pm, but he shouldn't be staying up until 11pm either. No matter what anyone tells you, (especially your child) children need more sleep than you do.

The actual amount may vary from child to child, but not by very much. Here's a guide to show you how much sleep they should be getting. Use it to help you set a realistic bedtime

5 year old - 10 to 12 hours sleep
6 year old - 10 to 11.5 hours sleep
7 year old - 9.5 to 11.5 hours sleep
8 year old - 9.5 to 11.5 hours sleep

Whatever you agree, make sure you stick to it

Give them a routine

We know how important it is for babies to have a routine, but older children still need a routine to help them relax and unwind. However, it has to be appropriate to their age and your lives. It should also involve things they like doing too. Reading stories together, or listening to story tapes can calm them down very quickly. So can a hot drink and a cuddle or chatting about their day.
Children also love hearing about what you've been doing, especially if they've been at school or you've been at work and they haven't seen much of you.

Whatever your routine it needs to be something you both enjoy and look forward to. Bedtime should be pleasurable, not a punishment.
Top tip: Ignore the phone during this time if you can. It will distract you both too much.

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  1. 1. My kids won't go to bed!
  1. 2. My kids still won't go to bed!

Your comments

katwhosetired

my 5 yr old doesnt get the recommand 10-12 hrs anight she gets 5 hours coz she wakes up through out the night so shes tired and in a bad mood and unable to concernate at school, weve got them into a routine i have 2 5yr olds one who sleeps no problem then the other, they watch bed time hour on cbeebies then a warm drink and then bed, my dd who doesnt sleep is still awake at 9pm, weve took everything out of her room that she can play with and her television isnt switched on, i just dont no wot else to do

Chloe

Why do adults always treat us like we are five,i would understand if we were! ooo "ignor the phone it will distract you both!" pathetic!! kids should go to sleep when they are tired when you see they are yourning or something they do to show that! naughty steps are horrid too, it makes kids feel as though you dont want to no, as if your not interested, they will only do something bad for attention thats what they do cause they love you and want you to notice them! i am 13 and just wanted to let that out to someone as when i watched supernanny i think she was horrible!

Magda

I agree with Leanne if you break the rules once they know you're a rule-breaker. You have to be firm and not panic and not change course. A nightmare but the end results are better for you and the kids...

jackie

my son is 8 and night times are a night mare.... help......

Leanne kazmi

Sarah I followed supernannys advice of putting them straight back to bed, with no eye contact or speaking. It took a few days but it did work. I made sure they were clean, dry, not thirsty or peckish read them a story or sang a song then that was it! Lights out. My two are the same ages as yours and seemed to double team me! I got my hubby involved in bed times too so that I was not dragging my feet or being manipulated! Good luck!

sarah davison

hi i have tryed all the things you have said and they dont same to work. i have a 4 yar old and a 2 year old and they both dont go to sleep till around 10.30 i just dont know what to do next have you got any ofter ideas for me to try and help. thanks

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