Sleeping is vital in the healthy growth of a child so it is of utmost importance to make sure one’s child gets the right amount of sleep. Once it is understood what number of slumber hours is required for each stage of childhood one can then learn tips to get the wee ones off to dreamland.
Children and sleep go hand in hand when realizing that 40 percent of childhood is spent sleeping. Those caring for the little ones will want to make sure that the sleep environment is comfy with a quality memory foam mattress and bedding. Caretakers should understand the importance of sleep for the growth of the child and be armed with useful sleep tips for kids.
As quick as children grow from babies, to toddlers, to school aged so do their sleep needs. With each step of growth, the sleep pattern changes and adjusts. Understanding the amount of sleep required by age will help caregivers keep their charges bright, alert, and ready to grow with life’s challenges.
The National Sleep Foundation consulted with scientists, sleep specialists and medical representatives to conduct research for childhood sleep guidelines. The over two years of research concluded the needed sleep by age group. Although sleep hours may vary with each individual recommended sleep hour windows have been established by the children’s age.
Newborns first month: 15 to 18 hours’ sleep
The newborn baby spends its day and night alternating between sleeping, eating, and bathroom breaks. Although they will typically sleep for up to as much as 18 hours the sleep is broken into two to four-hour time periods allowing for them to get nourishment.
1 to 4 Months: 14 to 15 hours’ sleep
As the baby grows from the newborn stage it begins to start having a sleep pattern at around six weeks old. By this age the tiny one will begin sleeping for longer periods at a time of four to six hours. They will begin to attain a biological clock in which they will tend to sleep more in the night hours than during daytime.
4 Months to 1 Year: 14 to 15 hours’ sleep
During this time is when baby is learning healthy sleep habits. As baby socializes he or she will begin needing less nap time. Up to six months many infants will nap 3 times a day. After six months baby will tend to only need one morning and one afternoon nap.
1 to 3 Years: 12 to 14 hours’ sleep
After the one year mark the child is ready to only take one nap a day. Even when nearing the two-year-old mark and up to three years of age the child toddler will still want to nap in the afternoon. Depending on the child, naptime can run anywhere from one to three-and-a-half hours long. It is important to establish regular bedtime hours – usually somewhere between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Expect the little one to rise in the morning then between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.
3 to 6 Years: 10 to 12 hours’ sleep
At these still young ages the child should still be rocking the same bedtime of 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., along with the same wake time of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. While naptime may still be happening for the 3-years-old, by the time they reach the 5-year-old kindergarten age naptime should be a memory.
7 to 12 Years: 10 to 11 hours’ sleep
As the school years’ progress so do social activities. With these life progressions, bedtimes will begin to get later. By 12 years of age the child will be heading to bed generally at around 9 p.m. with some even later. The average sleep time will be moving into adult territory at around 9 hours. Do not be alarmed though if your child craves more sleep time as each individual requires different snooze time.
12 to 18 Years: 8 to 9 hours’ sleep
The teen years can be frustrating as teens fight to want to have later bedtime hours or even spend nights’ awake game playing. At this time sleep is imperative for teens as they are running full force into adult hood.
Sleep is as important for a child’s growth as food is. A healthy night’s sleep, as well as needed nap time, will promote strong development. Overnight growing spurts have been witnessed with the growth hormone working hard during the night producing its magic.
In order to keep healthy cholesterol levels children must get quality sleep. If the needed rest is not achieved, then the child could be at risk for a dangerous cholesterol level that could result in vascular damage. In addition, children who tend to have trouble sleeping will also experience higher levels of stress.
Unneeded stress from insufficient rest can cause an elevation in blood glucose and cortisol levels that can lead to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. With not enough slumber the child can be at risk for not having the needed amount of cytokines that are produced during sleep. These are the proteins that the body uses to fight illness, infection, and stress. The cytokines work double duty to make one sleepy as they battle an infection or illness.
It is important to have an arsenal of tip and tricks to lull the young one off to dreamland. Just as important is to teach children how to get themselves off to a peaceful slumber.
As soon as the baby is born their first lesson is to learn how to self-sooth. A baby and child should know how to calm themselves whether with a thumb, blankie, toy, or something else. This is not to say that a care giver will not come running when baby needs.
While feeding assure that the infant stays awake and does not dose. While still awake then place baby into his or her bed. Although the little one may cry at first it is important to wait it out as long as possible. Each night a cry is heard hold the response for a little longer. Soon the little one will learn to self-sooth and lull themselves back to sleep and give mommy and daddy rest as well.
2) Bedtime Routine
Having a bedtime routine that can be practiced every night is very important for getting the little one ready for sleep. No matter what the kids may try to negotiate, they want routine and discipline. Make sure to be consistent with a bedtime scheduled time. Experts have concluded that time for bed for young ones should be some time before 9 p.m. – as after that hour children have been seen to have more trouble falling and staying asleep.
3) A Soothing Friend
As an infant grows into a toddler one may want to give the child a favorite toy or blanket for self-soothing comfort. This object works for the child to grasp and cuddle as and aid to fall and stay asleep. This can be a very important connection that actually-follows the child into adulthood. It should not be shunned but revered as something special. As the child grows older the object may not be needed as much but will still serve as a soothing friend to turn to.
4) Bedtime Story
Having some special quiet time between the child and caregiver before bedtime can be an important factor in segueing the young one to go off to dreamland. This is a great time to read a favorite bedtime story. Not only is a connection of family being savored, but it can also be a time for quiet learning. The story should be calm and soothing, and read to child in bed so that eyes can close and dreaming can begin as the story ends.