Between waking up early to open Christmas presents to going to bed late after a holiday party, your children might not be on their regular sleep schedule. While it's ok to stray from a regular bedtime every once in a while, research shows sleep is important for a child's physical and mental health.
Jay and Ericka Bachmayer enjoy playing with their one-and-a-half-year-old son Gabriel. But, a parenting task that's not always quite so fun is bedtime.
"I would say even with the holidays, it's been a struggle the last two weeks," Ericka said.
Overall though, Ericka says her son's sleep schedule has improved over the last half year. She credits a solid sleep routine.
"We do bath and then he gets to play for 15 minutes. Then bottle and bed," Ericka said.
A sleep routine is one of the tips Dr. Kara Bruning has for parents struggling to get their children to bed.
"Whether it's a bath and then we read a book and put our pajamas on or we slowly get ready for bed, make sure it's the same routine every night," Bruning said.
Another tip is to turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes to an hour before a child's bedtime.
"Put those electronic devices away. If they need to watch a little bit of TV before bed, that's ok, but we probably don't want to be watching the big action shows," Bruning said.
It also helps to keep light levels low in the bedroom and avoid caffeinated foods or beverages for at least three hours before bedtime.
"I know it's really hard on the weekends, but especially for kids even on the weekends, you need to try to get them to bed at the same time every night," Bruning said.
While some nights are more sleepless than others at the Bachmayer house, Gabriel's parents say their persistence is starting to pay off.
Research shows that a regular bedtime helps children grow and fight off illnesses, while also improving their emotional health.