TODAY   |  June 19, 2013

Zzzz! 3 tips for getting your kids to sleep

TODAY Moms contributor Amy McCready and psychologist Jennifer Hartstein say to help your kids get to sleep at night you should give them one-on-one attention during the day, create bedtimes that can be done anywhere, and train your kids to be independent sleepers.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> all righty. do your little nose-pickers ask for a glass of water --

>> that is not nice.

>> after they're all tucked in? do they run into your bed in the middle of the night or want you to read their favorite book over and over and over again?

>> it is normal for kids to not want to go to --

>> nose-pickers.

>> to bed. if getting them to bed is a struggle, we have advice. amy creedy is a "today's mom" contributor and author of "one more time."

>> and psychologist jennifer ha hartstein is author of "princess recovery."

>> getting kids to best can have overall health complications.

>> it can. insufficient sleep affects growth because the growth hormone is released at night when they're sleeping. affects their cognition and social behavior --

>> especially in the youngest years, they can learn to control it a bit. in fact as they get older. at 2, 3, 1 --

>> they're already impulsive. imagine they're more irritable, impulsive, emotionally disregulated, it will be harder to get through the day. they will be tantruming, they'll be out of control.

>> is the idea to get into a routine? what should you do if you have trouble putting your kids to sleep at night?

>> routine is a big thing. understand how much sleep your kids need. most kids get less. a child up to 6 years old probably needs 12 hours of sleep --

>> amazing.

>> 7 to 12-year-olds need tone 11 hours.

>> once they start school they rarely get what they need.

>> especially teenager who really need nine hours of sleep. the fact is, i don't know a teenager who gets nine hours of sleep at all.

>> no.

>> why whi -- which is why they're inattentive at school and have academic problems.

>> let's talk about young kids. say your child doesn't sleep well and want to crawl in bed with you? is that a terrible no-no like they say in magazines?

>> some families are comfortable with that, but you need an exit point. at some point they need to be independent sleepers. if they wake up they can get themselves back to sleep. that requires training.

>> one of the things to remember is a lot of kids come into mom or dad's bed for soothing. they want to be soothed by their parents. if that goes on too long, they never learn who do it by themselves. a problem down the road.

>> self-soothing.

>> routine is a good place to start.

>> a routine. should they go to bed at the same time every night?

>> yes, be consistent.

>> hard in the summertime when the sun is still up. my father and mother made me go to bed, all of us kids, at 8:30 all the time. and the sun is still shining in --

>> that's weird.

>> there's kids outside playing.

>> it's hard. you know, bedtime in the summer can be a little later than the school year you had has to be consistent. week nights, weekends, same bedtime. if it's 8:00 one night, 8:30 the night --

>> it throws your clock off.

>> and kids are negotiating.

>> and you can keep the room dim at those times. the bedroom always feels like a safe sanctuary. the negotiation is always part of the challenge. we're constantly -- we don't want to have a power struggle at bedtime. if everybody knows the vul we head to bed at 8:00, lights out at 8:30, read the same book, do the same thing --

>> they'll stretch as much as you let them.

>> as much as you let them. the key for the parent is for putting the kid to bed. that's the parent's responsibility. the child's responsibility is falling asleep. i think we have to remember that the more we set the structure the better and healthier our kids will be.

>> did your kids sleep okay when they were little?

>> i always ended the evening with -- i think it's important, for me it was to pray every night. to give them a sense that in this big, ever-changing world there's something constant.

>> that's the ritual.

>> yeah. that was our ritual. they knew after that, mommy would turn on her kathie lee cd, and they were go to -- cota still does.

>> yeah. -- hoda still does.

>> yeah.

>> frank still loves it.

>> all right. thank you.

>> good to see you.