July 02, 2015

Q: Should I be putting my 10 month old to bed the same time each night or wait for tired signs?

A: Establishing a general regular sleeping routine may be helpful for you, your family, and your 10 month old because everyone can rely on the pattern and thus tend to get up at a consistent hour in the morning also. However, if your 10 month old is outraged at being put into bed before feeling tired, there is nothing wrong with waiting until the child looks a bit more sleepy. You probably wouldn't want to stay up for hours and hours each night, waiting for an energetic tot to be tired out, so a middle ground between rigid bedtimes and evaluating the child's needs might be best.  Occasional "staying up" if the child is enjoying an activity is harmless. There is no purpose in being absurdly inflexible about bedtimes.

Elizabeth Berger MD

Child Psychiatrist and author of "Raising Kids with Character"

Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Berger