Advice Column, Health, Parenting, Toddler

Time for bed!

An eye-opening estimated 70% of children are not getting enough sleep or enough quality sleep these days! Keep reading to find out what this is doing and how to help them and yourself, as a parent, rest easier!

The amount of sleep a child needs varies depending on age and health, but here is a quick guideline to help you gauge how much sleep your child ideally needs!

AgeSleep hours needed per day
1-4 Weeks15 – 16
1-4 Months14 – 15
4-12 Months14 – 15
1-3 Years 12 – 14
3-6 Years 10 – 12
7-12 Years10 – 11
12-18 Years8 – 9

So, why do we our children need regular, quality sleep?

Sleep serves a critical role in our health and well-being and gives your body a rest, allowing it to prepare for the next day. Every movement we make uses vital resources and creates minuscule wear and tear for our bodies. At night, while we sleep, our body finally gets the chance to rebuild itself. While we are awake, our minds are barraged from input from 5 senses, as well as constantly using thought, logic, creativity, and creating memories. Sleep gives the brain the time it needs to sort out and store information, replace chemicals, and solve problems.

If you are having a hard time trying to get your kids to sleep as much as they should, here are a few age-appropriate tips to give you a hand:

Newborns

  • Observe baby’s sleep patterns and identify signs of sleepiness.
  • Put your baby in the crib when drowsy, before they fall asleep.
  • Place your baby to sleep on their back with face clear of blankets and other soft items.

Infants

  • Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules.
  • Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine, such as reading to them or singing.
  • Make their space “sleep friendly” environment, with soft lighting.

Toddlers

  • Maintain a sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine.
  • Make the bedroom environment the same every night, without much change.
  • Encourage use of a “sleep pal” such as a blanket or stuffed animal.

Preschoolers

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
  • Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark, without a TV.

School-aged Children

  • Teach them about healthy sleep habits and why sleep is important.
  • Make child’s bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.
  • Avoid caffeine and sugary food and drink.
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