This week we are focusing on the topic of sleep for children. Sleep is essential for everyone, at every age and stage. But how much sleep is optimal at different parts of development can vary. And what things should you keep in mind for encouraging healthy sleeping habits in your children so that they are well rested most of the time?
How Much is Enough Sleep for Children?
According to various sources, listed below, the following amounts are suggested for each age group (do keep in mind that these are averages, and individual needs and habits may vary within a general range). All amounts are per day, this is a cumulative total of nighttime and naptime sleep.
Newborns (0 – 3 Months):
- Recommended amount 14 – 17 hours
- No less than 11 hours and no more than 19 hours
Infants (4 – 11 Months):
- Recommended amount 12 – 15 hours
- No less than 10, no more than 18 hours
Toddlers (1 – 2 years)
- Recommended amount 11 – 14 hours
- No less than 9, no more than 16
Preschoolers (3 – 5 years)
- Recommended amount 10 – 13 hours
- No less than 8, no more than 14 hours
School-aged Children (6 – 13 years)
- Recommended amount 9 – 11 hours
- No less than 7, no more than 12 hours
Tips for Healthy Sleeping Habits
- An early bedtime (between 7:00pm – 8:00pm) is good for children from infancy into school age
Decrease screen time before bed, the blue light in screens can mimic natural light, which disrupts the body’s signaling system to tell itself that it is night time and time to sleep. This can lead to insomnia, trouble falling asleep, inconsistent bedtimes, and fewer hours of sleep.
- Have a consistent bedtime, and by extension, a consistent bedtime routine that helps wind down for the day. Choose quiet and calming activities before bed to help transition into sleeping. Reading is a great activity before bedtime.
- Keep in mind that the range of what is normal for sleep can vary. It is important to observe what is typical for your child and consult your doctor if you suspect your child is not sleeping enough or is displaying irregular sleep patterns.
Finally, here are some suggestions for bedtime books:
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam Mc Bratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
- Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman
- And whatever your personal favourites are!