Whether you have young children a bit later in life of if you’re watching the grandkids for a stretch, the biggest key for a good and productive night’s rest for children is consistency. Younger kids also need more sleep than adults, and that amount gradually decreases as they get older and into their teenage years.

Kingston Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has all the details on how you can play a role in helping kids get the sleep that they need.

Being Tired Has Several Disadvantages

Think about how you are when you’re tired. That’s magnified for children. They have trouble controlling their behavior and a lack of sleep will also affect their performance at school.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

Infants should be getting a total of 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day. Once they reach the toddler age, that drops to 11-14 hours as naps begin to be reduced. Preschoolers should be getting between 10 and 13 hours of sleep, and grade-school kids require between nine and 12 hours. Once the kids reach their teenage years, eight to 10 hours of sleep is optimal, which is closest to the seven to nine hours most adults need.

How to Establish a Good Sleep Routine

These tips are good for adults as well, but it’s vital that you establish them for children because they will not do so on their own (most kids like to stay up as late as they physically can!).

The routine should start about an hour before bedtime by dimming the lights and keeping noises to a minimum. A darker environment will help the body produce melatonin, a natural sleep aid. A relaxing activity like reading is also good to get the body ready for sleep. Electronic devices should also be avoided within two hours of bedtime, as the blue light they emit can prevent the production of melatonin.

Kids typically go to bed not too long after dinner time, but make sure that they’re not ingesting foods with too much sugar and definitely not caffeine, as that can keep them awake.

Finally, making the house or bedroom a little cooler can also help. It’s much easier to get warm under the blankets than have to worry about trying to fall asleep while sweating.

To learn more about Kingston Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and all of the services they offer, visit http://kingston-center.facilities.centershealthcare.org.