Child Development - sleep

Sleep can help a child develop and grow

Child Development – Sleep!

Children require plenty of sleep to grow and develop.  Typical child development depends on sleep.  Sleep may be as important as nutrition and exercise. It can be difficult to know how much sleep children require. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies has provided the following guidelines:

Newborns: 11 to 18 hours
Newborns and all infants, sleep on and off for a few hours at time. Babies don’t develop a regular awake/sleep pattern until about 6 months of age.

Infants: 14 to 15 hours
From two months to a year, infants’ sleeping patterns will change into a regular awake/ sleep pattern with one or two naps throughout the day.

Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours
Most toddlers will be sleeping through the night and only taking one nap during the day.

Preschoolers: 11 to 13 hours
Consistent sleeping patterns should be established by now and toward the last few months of age 5, naps will probably end.

School-Age: 10 to 11 hours
School-age children need adequate sleep to function at their best. Added demands on their time for school, outside activities, and home life, can add to school-age children not getting enough rest.

Developing a night time routine may help a child to sleep better.  Consistency helps children feel safe and secure.  Make sure the temperature in the child’s room is ideal, and provide appropriate blankets.  Some children may enjoy a night light, or gentle music while they fall asleep.  Experiment until you find the right mix.

If your child is having difficulty at night, consult a professional for help.  There could be many underlying reasons for this that are not obvious.  For example, if your child is waking up frequently he or she may have sleep apnea.  Your child may not be sleeping due to behavior and habits.  In any case, if night time is a battle – consult a professional.  Child development can be improved!

Pleasant dreams!