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Sleep Recommendations for Kids

Sleep Recommendations for Kids


For many parents, sleep is never the same once kids are in the picture.  Long gone are the days of drifting to sleep peacefully whenever you please.  If your kids aren’t sleeping well, neither are you.  From infancy until adulthood, sleep is essential for good health.  While every child is different, there are sleep recommendations for children of all ages.  Here’s how to make sure your kids are getting enough sleep, and tricks to get them more rest if they need it.

 Infants to Twelve Months of Age

 It’s important that parents stay committed to instilling good sleep habits early.  Infants in their first week of life need up to sixteen hours of sleep a day.  About half of that sleep should be daytime sleep.  If you’re craving more sleep at night, try swaddling your newborn before bed.  Swaddling helps infants feel secure, and they’re less likely to wake themselves with uncontrolled movements.  A good swaddle may help your baby stay asleep longer at night, giving you more rest as well.

By three months of age, babies need less sleep during the day.  Five hours during the day and ten hours at night is recommended.  This is a good age to start with a bedtime routine, because you need your child to learn that nighttime is for sleep.  Books, songs and a bath are quiet activities to help your child wind down.  After a few weeks of your new routine, your baby will recognize that it’s bedtime when they hear the special song or finish their bath.

By twelve months of age, most babies are ready for one nap a day, about two to three hours long.  Nighttime sleep should clock in at no less than eleven hours a night.

 One to Three Years Old

Toddlers need to sleep fourteen hours a day. Unfortunately, most kids this age are only getting about ten hours a day.  While many toddlers are resistant to naps, parents need to ensure their children are getting enough rest.  Overtired toddlers are more likely to behave poorly and throw tantrums.  Up until three years old, try to give your child a daily nap.  Sticking to a routine, such as lying down after lunch, will keep your child from resisting naptime.  If you still can’t grab that downtime for your toddler, make bedtime earlier, such as7pm.

Three to Twelve Years Old

After three years of age, sleep recommendations stay about the same until your child is twelve.  Many pediatricians advise parents to aim for ten to twelve hours a day until age six, and ten to eleven hours a day until age twelve.  This is an age when getting enough sleep becomes more difficult, especially with older children participating in activities after school.  Teach your children to do homework either after they have a snack in the afternoon or right after dinner.  The less you leave for before bedtime, the more likely your child will catch the sleep they need to stay healthy and alert in school.


Teenagers need a minimum of eight hours sleep every night.  While several kids this age have busier social calendars than their parents, sleep remains vital to their well-being.  Try to advise your teen against skimping on sleep during the week and “catching up” on the weekends.  A regular sleep schedule will keep them healthier and provide them with the necessary energy to maintain their busy schedules.  A “lights out, electronics off” rule is a good idea for teens resistant to the word “bedtime.”

Good sleep habits are essential to good health, behavior and have even been linked to lower obesity rates.  Parents need to encourage their children to get the sleep they need from infancy to adulthood.  The body needs rest to grow and repair cells, and for many ailments, sleep is the best preventative medicine.  Encourage your children to get the Zzzz’s they need, and you’ll get your rest in return.

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