The pandemic has reinvented everyday life at home. Schedules are topsy-turvy, and bedtime is no exception. With not enough energy burned off during the day, many kids are less willing to hit the hay at night. This is a common problem, but some states are struggling more than others. A new survey has ranked which states are worst at getting the kids tucked into bed — and the most popular tricks parents use to get children to fall asleep and stay asleep.
The state that’s the worst at getting kids to stick to their bedtime during the week is Florida. On average, Floridian children stay up past their bedtime by 33 minutes, three times per week. In second and third place are California and Colorado, according to the survey, which included 100 parents from each state for a total of 5,000 parents. Parents in Washington were least likely to face trouble getting their kids ready for bed. They experienced issues less than once a week on average.
“Bedtime can be a challenge because at the end of the day, parents are tired. But helping a child get a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do to support their well-being,” said Kelly Fradin, a pediatrician and partner of Zarbee’s Naturals, a vitamin, and medicine company that commissioned the study. “Even if kids know sleep is important, they don’t always have the maturity and executive functioning skills to prioritize a good night of sleep.”
Unsurprisingly, since the start of the pandemic, bedtime routines have changed for 60 percent of families, and 49 percent of parents are having even more trouble than usual getting their kids to bed. Because many parents don’t have to worry about getting their children up and ready for in-person school, 42 percent have been less strict about bedtime. Once a kid hits nine years old, they’re more likely to stay up late.
The struggle isn’t over once the kids are asleep. Nearly half of parents said their children had trouble staying falling and staying asleep.
“With all of the change in the past year, it’s helpful to maintain a consistent bedtime every night to promote the physiology of healthy sleep,” Fradin said. “A bedtime routine, limiting screen time before bed and making time and space for physical activity can also help.”
These are the top tricks parents use to get their kids to sleep, in order from most to least common:
- Leave a nightlight on during the night
- Read them a bedtime story
- Leave soft music playing in their room while they fall asleep
- Leave a TV show or movie on while they fall asleep
- Lie in bed with them until they fall asleep
- Ensure my child has their favorite blanket or stuffed animal
- Give them warm milk to drink before bed
- Give them melatonin
- Limit screen time in the hours before bedtime
- Put a white noise machine on while they fall asleep