Bedtime is the one, non-negotiable thing at our house. In class it is very easy to tell when a child did not get enough sleep the night before. They come in with puffy and/or glassy eyes, and have a difficult time focusing the entire day.In a study of 74 six- to twelve-year-olds, researchers found that the children generally had more trouble with their schoolwork and more attention problems during the week when they stayed up late each night. The study, published in the medical journal Sleep, included healthy grade-schoolers without sleep or academic problems. During one week, they followed their normal sleep routine, with younger children getting about 10 hours each night and older children getting 8 to 9 hours. On another week, the children stayed up later than usual and got only 6.5 to 8 hours of sleep, depending on their age. On a third week, all of the children followed an "optimized" sleep schedule and got no fewer than 10 hours of sleep per night. (Source: SLEEP Dec. 2005)
According to one study, an optimized sleep schedule consisted of no fewer than 10 hours of sleep per night. Okay, so let's back into that time frame. Your child starts school at 8:30 am. You need to leave the house at 8:15 She needs a good hour to really wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed and feed the dog.
If you wake her up at 7:00 am, she needs to be asleep no later than 9:00 pm. Many children don't fall asleep the minute their head hits the pillow. That said, a bed time of 8:00 pm or 8:30 pm is by no means unreasonable.
Even if your child lies in bed for 20-30 minutes before falling asleep, this is good downtime and helps them to know that they do not constantly need to be on the go. Being left alone with one's own thoughts is good for kids too!