How Much Sleep Does Your Child Really Need?
Children don’t always agree with having a bedtime, which can make it difficult for parents to set a routine sleep schedule. Though it may be a challenge, a good night’s rest is imperative for a child’s physical, cognitive and mental development. The amount of sleep a child needs depends on the age group; however, the range for preschool and school-age children typically falls anywhere between 10 to 13 hours of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) provided the guidelines below (supported by The American Academy of Pediatrics) regarding the recommended sleep hours by age group:
- Infants (four to 12 months): 12 to 16 hours (with naps)
- Toddlers (one to two years): 11 to 14 hours (with naps)
- Preschoolers (three to five years): 10 to 13 hours (with naps)
- Grade schoolers aka School-age (six to 12 years): nine to 12 hours
- Teens (13 to 18): eight to 10 hours
“School-age children need an adequate amount of sleep each night as they are continuously learning and staying active throughout the day,” says Juliet Lener MD, pediatrician at PIH Health. “A good night’s rest will contribute to their cognitive performance such as attentiveness, concentration, problem solving and decision making—all significant behaviors that affect school performance.”
No matter what age group your child is in, it is never too early or late to start a bedtime routine. Here are six tips to keep in mind while starting a routine for your child.
- Limit screen time. No television, tablets, computer or video games before bedtime.
- Make bath time soothing and relaxing.
- Follow bath time with brushing teeth, pajamas and bed.
- Dim the lights in the bedroom to create a relaxing environment.
- Sing a song, share a story or read a book right before bedtime.
- Make tucking in, sharing hugs and/or kisses a part of the routine as well.
“Enforcing healthy sleep habits for your children from the start will result in positive outcomes in the future,” added Dr. Lener.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns regarding insomnia, sleep apnea, bed wetting or night terrors. To find a PIH Health pediatrician near you, visit www.PIHHealth.org/Peds.