By: Rebekah Thomson, Pediatric Sleep Coach
Sleep is a vital need, essential to a child’s health and growth. Quality sleep promotes alertness, memory and performance. Children who get enough sleep are more likely to function better and are less prone to behavioral problems and moodiness. That is why it is important for parents to start early and help their children develop good sleep habits. Below are some general guidelines for how many hours of sleep the average child requires at various ages. Remember, every child is different – some need more or less sleep than others – but variations are minimal.
As you can see below, children need about 11 hours of sleep for the majority of their first ten years. Ideally, parents will come to learn their child’s sleepy cues (more on these in a later post) and put them to bed when their child’s body is ready. Otherwise, parents can count 11 hours backwards from the child/household’s wakeup time and aim to have their child asleep by then (i.e. not just starting the bedtime routine). For example, if everyone in the house is up by 6:30am to get to school and work, the child should be asleep around 7:30pm.
Based on Richard Ferber’s Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
Nap suggestions correlate to the average baby’s windows of wakefulness, which means ‘the length of time you can expect your baby to stay awake between sleep times without becoming overtired.” Average windows of wakefulness by age:
The above times are averages for children who are sleeping well at night. How your child naps is dependent upon how your child sleeps at night. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep, and be aware of your child’s window of wakefulness. Try to ensure that you are starting the naptime or bedtime routine at least 30 minutes before the window of wakefulness expires to mitigate naptime resistance (and meltdowns).
Based on Kim West’s Good Night Sleep Tight
Here’s to a good night’s sleep!
Contact Rebekah Thomson for your Sleep Needs! Rebekah Thomson Counting Sheep Pediatric Sleep Coaching firstname.lastname@example.org (917) 455-3054
Cape Cod Moms