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Some children go to bed with no problem.  They are tired from a busy day and even look forward to a good night’s sleep.  Other children would stay up all night, if their parents allowed it.  In either case, establishing a routine bedtime is a good idea.  It not only helps provide structure, but it also insures that children receive a proper amount of sleep. 

Since some children require more sleep than others, determining each child’s bedtime can take some effort.  You might need to try different bedtimes on and off until you find one that suits your child.  If your child is difficult to wake up in the morning, you should probably make his or her bedtime earlier.  If your child is waking up before the alarm goes off you might want to extend the bedtime by half an hour or so. 

Some parents simply choose a bedtime according to the child’s age, once the child starts elementary school.  For example, a seven-year-old child would go to bed at seven o’clock; an eight-year-old child would go to bed at eight o’clock, and so on.  This may work for some, but other parents find that their children don’t get enough sleep with this method, especially those children that must get up very early for school.  Besides, some parents find ten o’clock a bit late for a ten-year-old. 

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that school aged children get at least eight to ten hours of sleep.  The bedtime is therefore determined by the time the child has to get up in the morning.  For smaller children, ten to twelve hours of sleep is better, but again, it does depend in large part upon the child and his or her need for sleep.