Helping children develop good sleep habits right from the start is important to their overall health and development. The chart below shows just how much sleep a child requires from birth through their teenage years followed by a series of ten child sleep tips.
How Much Sleep Children Need By Age
0-3 months old: 14-17 hours
4-11 months old: 12-15 hours
1-2 years old: 11-14 hours
3-5 years old: 10-13 hours
6-13 years old: 9-11 hours
14-17 years old: 8-10 hours
10 Child Sleep Routine Tips
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has provided ten tips to help parents navigate healthy sleep habits with their children. Check them out below!
1) Make sleep a priority. Getting enough sleep needs to become a priority for all members of the family. Adults set the example, so be mindful of your own sleep habits. Making sleep a priority for yourself shows your children that it’s an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.
2) Stick to a daily routine. Keeping consistent waking time, meal times, nap time, and play times will help your child feel secure and also help with the transition to bedtime. Having a set bedtime routine such as reading a book before being tucked in is especially helpful for young children. Just make sure your go-to sleep routine can be used anywhere such as on family vacation.
3) Be active during the daytime. Having your children be physically active and outside during the day really pays off when bedtime rolls around.
4) Monitor screen time. At night, keep computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones out of your child’s bedrooms. If you have a TV in their room, make sure that it is kept off. To prevent possible sleep disruption, turn off all screens at least 60 minutes before your child goes to bed.
5) Create a sleep-promoting environment. Dim the lights prior to bedtime and control the temperature in the home. Limit the amount of toys that make it into your child’s bed. A favorite blanket and/or stuffed animal is fine, just make sure the bed doesn’t become a place to play.
6) Be aware of teenage sleep requirements. Teens require more sleep, not less. Puberty does a number on their sleep-wake cycles, so make sure your teenager is going to bed at a reasonable time— especially if they have an early school start time.
7) Don’t let your baby have a bottle in bed. Anything other than water in a bottle during the night can cause tooth decay. So, no juice, milk, or formula.
8) Don’t start solid food too early. Avoid starting your baby on solids before 6 months of age. Starting solid food sooner will not help your baby sleep through the night. In fact, if you give your baby solids before their system can digest them, they may sleep worse because of an upset stomach.
9) Avoid overscheduling. Keep scheduled evening activities (sports games, music lessons, and clubs) in check. Children need unscheduled downtime each week.
10) Look out for sleep problems. The most common sleep problems in children include difficulty falling asleep, nighttime awakenings, snoring, resisting going to bed, sleep apnea, and loud or heavy breathing while sleeping. Sleep problems may manifest in the daytime, too. Consider talking to your child’s teacher about your child’s alertness during the day if you think their could be an issue.
Be sure to discuss your child’s sleep habits and any problems with your child’s pediatrician. Most sleep problems are easily treated and they can offer up additional suggestions to help improve your child’s sleep habits.