If there’s one thing all parents need, it’s more sleep. Turns out, the same goes for our kids. Seven out of 10 children are not getting enough sleep, which makes them not only cranky, but lowers their chances of doing well in school. A lack of sleep also makes them more susceptible to getting colds and becoming depressed.

How can you get your kids to sleep better and longer when you can’t physically force them to sleep? With a game plan.

1. Get Them to Bed Earlier

A lot of children go to bed way too late. But the earlier they get to bed, the faster they will be asleep. Being overtired because they are going to bed too late can actual hurt their ability to fall asleep, which leads to even less sleep, which makes them even more tired.

WebMD offers a way to determine how many hours of sleep your child should be getting based on their age, then you need to count backwards from when they need to be awake so you can know the best time to get them into bed. And don’t worry when it doesn’t work the first night. It will take some time for your child to adjust to this new schedule.

2. Give Them a Clock

Are your kids waking up way too early? Try giving them a clock and teaching them that they can’t get out of bed until the clock reads a certain time. There’s a variety of models to choose from — some that change colors when it’s time to wake up, and others that will help your children learn to read a clock. Teach your child that it is important that she stay in her bed all night so that you know where to find her in case of an emergency.

3. Cut Back Their Schedule

Kids today are way overscheduled. If you are starting to sense that your child is overwhelmed, it could be the reason why she isn’t sleeping well. Too much stimulation in the evening after school can not only cut into your child’s sleep schedule, but could be making it more difficult for her to fall asleep.

4. Cut Back on Screen Time

Studies show that screen time before bed can stimulate your child’s brain so much that she struggles to fall asleep. That can be frustrating to you, but it will also mean she gets less hours of sleep than she needs and that will affect her throughout her entire day.

5. Cut Back on Sugar

Sugar before bed is trouble for my kids. Two out of three of them just can’t handle it, especially if that sugar comes in the form of chocolate. They end up with nightmares. These nightmares not only wake them up, but they wake each other up with their cries or as they yell in their sleep.

6. Keep Them in Their Own Bed

I am all for co-sleeping, but there comes a point when kids will sleep better in their own beds. If your kids are getting too big and cuddling with them at night is making it hard for you to sleep, then it’s likely that they won’t sleep that well either. Keep your kids in their own beds with a favorite toy to cuddle, a fun, new nightlight, or that special clock.

Better sleep for your children will mean better sleep for you, too. And with all of you well rested, you stand a better chance of being the best versions of yourselves.

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