The Ultimate Sleep Guide for 6–7-Year-Olds
Are you looking for advice on kid’s sleep for a 6- or 7-year-old?
At this age, it’s important to establish healthy sleep hygiene and a consistent bedtime routine to ensure your little one is well-rested and ready for school the next day.
You might also be wondering exactly how much sleep your child needs, what the best kid’s bed is for a 6- or 7-year-old, or how to manage when they want to stay up past their bedtime to watch one more episode of Bluey!
We’ve collected the answers to all these questions and more in this ultimate sleep guide for 6 and 7-year-olds – read on to achieve bedtime brilliance for your little dreamer.
How Much Sleep Do 6 – 7-Year-Olds Need?
The Sleep Foundation advises that primary school children (aged 6 – 12 years) should get 9 – 12 hours of sleep a day.
The exact amount of sleep they need will vary depending on the individual child and other factors, such as their activity level. If they seem tired or irritable throughout the day, it may be a sign they need more rest than they are currently getting.
To decide what time your 6 or 7-year-old should go to bed, work out what time they need to be up in the morning and count back from there. For example, if your child has to be up at 7am for school and needs 11 hours of sleep, then you should aim for them to be asleep by 8pm.
Consistency is crucial – ideally, your child should have the same bedtime, even at weekends and school holidays. This will avoid disruption to their routine and ensure they get enough sleep, even if they wake up at their usual time.
Best Beds for 6 – 7-Year-Olds
Our Olivia Mid Sleeper Bed is an ideal bed for 6 and 7-year-olds, as it has wide, flat steps that are easy and comfortable for little feet to climb and plenty of space underneath for setting up toys or creating a cosy den.
Alternatively, you could choose a high sleeper bed and use the additional space for a desk or storage, which will come in handy as your child gets older. If they need to share their room with a sibling, a kid’s bunk bed may also be suitable. At 6, kids are generally considered old enough to sleep safely on a top bunk.
Diet can have a big impact on kids’ sleep. A healthy, balanced diet will encourage healthy sleep. Try to avoid giving your child caffeinated and fizzy drinks or too many sugary foods, especially in the afternoons. Avoid large meals right before bed as well – instead, offer a light snack such as cereal or a banana.
Screens can also negatively affect children’s sleep. Blue light from screens suppresses the production of melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’ that helps us fall asleep. For good sleep hygiene, the NHS recommends that children avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
Ideally, screens should be kept out of kid’s bedrooms altogether. If this is not practical, try to have a dedicated area for them in the room that can be partitioned off at bedtime, for example, by using a room divider or a high sleeper bed, to create a separate sleep zone.
When establishing a bedtime routine for your child, again, consistency is key. At this age, children often have busy schedules with afterschool clubs and activities, so it’s important to have a designated winding-down period for them to calm down and decompress before bed.
Decide on your bedtime activities and do them in the same order each night. For example, the routine might consist of a bath, pyjamas, teeth brushing, toilet, and a bedtime story before lights out.
Sometimes, kids may resist bedtime. In this case, it can help to give them more say in their bedtime routine, so they feel more in control and excited to get into bed. Try getting them to choose their pyjamas or their favourite story to read once they’re tucked in.
You could also allow them to choose their own, exciting kid’s bed (from your pre-approved list!) so you know it’s one they’ll look forward to climbing into.
Common Sleep Issues
Sleepwalking, sleep apnoea, fear of the dark, nightmares and night terrors are all relatively common issues amongst 6 and 7-year-olds. School-aged children may also experience anxiety, which can impact their sleep.
If you’re concerned that your child regularly isn’t getting enough sleep or could be suffering from a sleep disorder, make sure to consult your doctor.
Top Tips to Improve 6 – 7-Year-Old’s Sleep
- Encourage your child to get fresh air and regular exercise during the day. This will bring their circadian rhythm forward and help them feel tired at bedtime. However, don’t push them into exhaustion, as overtiredness can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Remove any screens or other highly stimulating toys from your child’s room that might be distracting.
- Ensure they go to the toilet right before bed, so they’re less likely to get up during the night.
- Invest in a high-quality kid’s mattress and bedding so you know they’re comfortable and supported.
- Use blackout blinds to block out light from the sun or streetlights and add a night light with a red bulb if your child is afraid of the dark.
- Ensure the temperature of their room is cool and comfortable to encourage sleep – between 16 – 20°C is ideal.
- Keep noise to a minimum or use a white noise machine to block outside noise if necessary.
- If they are struggling to sleep, reassure your child that you are nearby and will be back to check on them soon. If you decide to stay with them until they drift off, a trundle bed can be useful, providing you with a comfier place to lie than the floor!