When you compare bedtime at your house to wrangling monkeys at the zoo, do you think monkeys may be the easier option?

You’re not alone; Mahaska Health Pediatrician Dr. John O’Brien understands how hard it can be to get those kiddos to calm down and snooze. However, it’s vital children get plenty of sleep, especially with how much they’re growing and learning each day!

Here are some tried and true ways to make bedtime less of a hassle at home:

Stay on Schedule: Children between 5 and 12 years of age need nine to eleven hours of sleep. Early to bed and early to rise is a must here! If you need to get those kiddos moving by 7 am, make sure you start their bedtime routine with enough time to ensure they get enough rest. And stick to it; nothing is worse than an overly tired tot!

Limit Screen Time: This one can be hard for some parents, but prolonged screen exposure can cause trouble throughout a child’s day, including bedtime. Shut the screens down an hour or more before it’s time to hit the hay.

Move Electronics Out: Along with limiting screen time, make sure to take any temptations for late night TV or internet surfing out of the bedroom. If you want to leave electronics in the room, make sure they are at least three feet away from the bed.

Lights Out: If your child is afraid of what lurks in the dark, turn on a nightlight in the hallway. If they are sensitive to the morning light, buy some blackout curtains to ensure they’re getting the rest they need!

Snack Smart: If your child needs a midnight snack, choose wisely! A food that combines carbs and protein like oatmeal with milk or toast with peanut butter can help induce sleep. Yogurt, bananas, eggs, tuna, poultry and cheese also encourage sleep. Just skip out on the sugary sweets or you’ll have one bouncing bundle of joy when you want them sleeping!

In order to give your child the best chance at a restful night, make sure to stick to a routine and keep them comfortable. A child that is relaxed is much more likely to fall asleep quickly and easily. Enjoy some bonding time before bed with a book or talk of their day; not only will you get to spend time together, but you can both wind down together!