How to Establish and Enforce a Reasonable Bedtime for Kids

How long your children sleep plays an important role in how well they do in school. When they’re well rested, they retain more information and pay better attention in class. Bedtimes can slip during the summer, but it’s important that your kids have a strict routine during the school year. Here are a few ways you can make this happen.

Keep the Same Schedule, No Matter What

You may be tempted to give in and let your kids stay up when they’re particularly demanding about watching “just one more show” or playing “one more turn.” One more turns into far too many and can put the children in a situation where they won’t get enough sleep.

Once it’s time for bed, that’s it. Everyone needs to go through their routine, such as brushing their teeth, and then settle in for the night. You need to be firm about this to avoid any slippage that could happen when it’s been a long day.

Remove Electronics From the Bedrooms

Televisions, computers, video game systems, and mobile devices provide temptation within easy reach. When your kids can simply entertain themselves in bed after you leave the room, you have no way of knowing whether they’re getting the sleep that they need. You may only find out later on if you catch them in the act or notice that their grades begin to slip.

The blue lights on many electronics also make it more difficult to sleep properly. If you do need to keep electronics in these bedrooms, use electrical tape to cover up any blinking lights that could cause issues. Avoid devices with a lot of extra lights, such as a desktop computer with LED lights in the case.

Address Issues Causing Poor Quality Sleep

Sometimes your kids want to sleep but they run into problems that affect their sleep quality. These symptoms may be associated with other medical concerns or are side effects of medication. They may also have a room that’s too hot or cold, or mattresses that cause pain. Evaluate their sleeping environment if you have consistent problems with your children not getting enough sleep. They may be suffering from a mitigating circumstance that’s making it impossible for them to get their rest.

Always Follow Through on Consequences

Kids learn quickly whether you’re willing to back up your word and follow through when you try to get them to go, or stay, in bed. When you mention consequences if they aren’t in bed by a certain time, make sure that these things happen. Some examples include taking away cell phones, limiting computer time, taking away planned events or lowering the allowance amount for each infraction.

Even if they don’t want to go to sleep at bedtime, they’ll learn that you mean business. Otherwise, they’ll continue to push and test you to see if they can get away with staying up. They’re not going to consider the short- and long-term consequences they face from not getting enough sleep, so you need to do that for them.


Bedtime battles may be frustrating at first, especially as you get used to the school year after a long summer break. Your commitment to making sure they rest will pay off when it comes to their school performance and overall well-being. Put these tips into action the next time you face a frustrating fight over sleep.


Related Articles

Join our community

Sign up to participate in America’s premier community focused on helping students
reach their full potential.