1. **Set a schedule**
Children should have a fixed bedtime and wake-up time when there is school the next day. Set clear expectations and household rules. Many experts suggest children under 12 need at least ten hours of sleep a night.
2. **Keep to it**
An occasional late night may be OK, but don’t make it a habit. Once the schedule is set, stick to it. The time to give the kids some flexibility is on weekends, not during the school week. Once the schedule becomes a routine habit, bedtimes become much, much simpler.
3. **Make the bedroom a BED room**
This can be a tough one, and admittedly, it isn’t always practical. But if you can, get rid of temptations in the kids’ rooms — things like electronic toys, computers, handheld games, or cell phones. If there’s nothing else to do in the room, your children will fall asleep more readily.
4. **Create a sleep environment**
Rooms should be dark and on the cool side for a comfortable sleep. No need for night lights or other distractions. Keep others in the house quiet after bedtime…that means music, the TV, and phone conversations should all be at a hush-hush level, if they happen at all.
5. **Wind down**
Make the hour before bedtime a ‘quiet time’ in the house. No horseplay, no video games, no phone calls. Time spent reading, talking, brushing teeth, and so on will help settle the kids, and get them ready for bed.
6. **Watch what they eat**
No caffeine or sugar rushes before bed. After dinner (or better yet, before), keep them away from chocolates, coffee, sodas, or other things than can interfere with their sleep.