Having children comes with big responsibilities. It’s your job as a parent to make good choices for your children, as they rely on you for nearly everything, especially younger children. Their lives are in your hands; they count on you to make important decisions about health, wellness, diet, and sleep. They all go hand in hand.
Sometimes it is hard to know if your child is getting the appropriate amount of sleep. They won’t always tell you when they are sleepy, or they may seem so full of energy that they couldn’t possibly be tired. As an adult, when you are tired, you feel sluggish and want to get to bed as quickly as possible. Most children who become drowsy and tired do the opposite of slowing down. Your child may, in fact, act as if they are not sleepy. They may also disagree when you say that it is time for bed. As the evening progresses, your child may become hyperactive and seem as if they are bouncing off the walls. This is the result of your child being overtired. Sometimes a child’s lack of sleep can be similar to the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
Making sure that you know the recommended sleep times for your children is very important. If they don’t get the sleep their bodies need, it can negatively affect their overall health and well being. Not to mention how draining it is to deal with temper tantrums, irritability, and whining that come from a lack of sleep.
Newborns and Infants
Babies can’t tell you when they are tired like older kids can. Instead, they may be fussy, cry, or rub their eyes and face. Most newborns and infants will fall asleep on their own and stay sound asleep for long periods of time. You may even feel that your new baby is sleeping too much. No need to worry; on average most newborns and infants sleep 75 percent of their 24-hour day.
Newborns (0-3 months)
- 14 to 17 hours of sleep each day
Infants (4-11 months)
- 12 to 15 hours of sleep each day
Toddlers and Preschoolers
Getting your toddler on a napping schedule will help ensure they get the sleep their bodies need. Your toddler may protest and not want to nap, but those are signs that they more than likely need one. Usually, toddlers take about 3 short naps throughout the day. Preschool-aged children will be able to tell you when they are tired, and most of the time they don’t mind taking a nap. Keep these naps earlier in the day to avoid trouble sleeping at night.
Toddlers (1-2 years)
- 11 to 14 hours of sleep each day
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
- 10 to 13 hours of sleep each day
Once your children start school, they will be able so to establish a daily routine. They will wake up in the early morning to get ready for school, no naps during the day and will need to get to bed between 7 and 8:30. Keeping to this routine will help your child get the sleep they need and make it easier to wake up in the morning. Without the needed sleep your child will not be as easy to get up and out the door and get to school on time.
School-aged Children (6-13 years)
- 9 to 11 hours each day
Having a teenager and trying to enforce a scheduled bedtime can be challenging. Most teenagers have trouble falling asleep because their minds are racing. You can try to limit television, phones, and tablets before bed to help your teenager wind down. Your teenager may make up for the lack of sleep at night by sleeping in. Don’t automatically think your teenage child is lazy when they opt to sleep in on the weekends; it’s their bodies way if making up for lost sleep.
Teenagers (14-17 years)
- 8 to 10 hours each day
You will be doing your children and yourself a favor by implementing proper sleep habits. Your child’s immune system will be at its best when their bodies get the sleep it needs. Lack of sleep will affect their immune system and lower their chances of fighting off infection. Making sure that your child is well rested will help them feel energized during the day and keep them healthy.