Getting kids to sleep when their routine is disrupted is hard work. There have been so many disruptions to our regular routines as we cope with the coronavirus pandemic, and many kids are staying up later than normal right now.
Incrementally later bedtimes can happen slowly as school is out and it might take some convincing to get your kiddos under the covers early right now.
Enter the Disney Bedtime Hotline. From now until April 30, parents in the United States can call 1-877-7-MICKEY at bedtime and Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck or Goofy will be on the line to provide a bedtime message.
The Disney bedtime hotline may sound silly, but getting kids back into a bedtime routine (especially when they've grown used to staying up as late) can be serious business.
According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, school-age kids need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine goes even further, recommending between 9 and 12 hours of sleep for kids 6 to 12 years old. Kids 3 to 5 years old should sleep 10 to 13 hour (including naps).
"Among three to five-year-olds, lack of sleep is associated with memory consolidation and language development difficulties, and with a lesser quality of life," said Wendy Hall, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine panel that made those recommendations explained after their release.
"Children aged five to 12 years who get less than nine hours of sleep have significantly increased odds of obesity," Hall, a sleep specialist and nursing professor at the University of British Columbia continued.
"Sleep routines are critical for kids of all ages. Reading a book, telling a story, singing a song, or getting into a toothbrush routine help kids settle into sleep better," she explained. "Banning electronic devices from the bedroom also helps."
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a five-year-old who starts school at 8:00am (and needs an hour or so to get ready, eat and commute) should be going to bed at 8 or 9:00pm. Obviously school start times and commutes don't matter right now, but mama's mental health does and earlier bedtimes can help with that.
Thanks for the help, Disney.
[A version of this post was originally published August 13, 2018. It has been updated.]