Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sleepy Kids: How to make sure your child is getting enough sleep.

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It's summer.  The sun sets late and the weather is perfect for outdoor late-night fun.  My kids are staying up late almost every night.  I only wish I knew how to get them to sleep-in each morning to make up for the lost sleep.

Even a parent of a newborn knows that sleep is the key to a happy child.  So how much does a child need each night and does loosing just an hour or so really make a difference?

I recently began the book Nurture Shock which insists that sleep-loss is a real problem for children.  They suffer both intellectually and physically.  Once I heard of the great set backs of sleep-loss  I went looking for just how much sleep my children should be getting.  And you may be surprised at what is recommended.

According to the National Sleep Foundation children need varied amounts of sleep according to their age as follows:

 Newborns (1-2 months)For newborns, sleep during the early months occurs around the clock and the sleep-wake cycle interacts with the need to be fed, changed and nurtured. Newborns sleep a total of 10.5 to 18 hours a day on an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake.

Infants (3-11 months) By six months of age, nighttime feedings are usually not necessary and many infants sleep through the night; 70-80 percent will do so by nine months of age. Infants typically sleep 9-12 hours during the night and take 30 minute to two-hour naps, one to four times a day – fewer as they reach age one.

Toddlers (1-3 years)
 Toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their naptimes will decrease to once a day lasting about one to three hours. Naps should not occur too close to bedtime as they may delay sleep at night.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)
Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age. As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common.

 School-aged Children (5-12 years)
Children aged five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep.
 
 


I am now conviced that sleep is more important than I had been treating it.  Naps and earlier bedtimes are things I take seriously now.  Hopefully we will get into a good pattern this summer so that we will be ready for the busy school year by August. 

How do you help your child get the sleep he needs in the summer?


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