How much sleep do your children need?

From birth to adolescence, the need for sleep your child's sleep patterns are changing. Sleep is very important for your child's health and well-being. Visit good sleep habits begins at birth. Children who don't get enough sleep find it hard to concentrate during the day and difficult to sleep at night.

How much sleep does my child need?

Adults can get by with insufficient sleep for short periods, but for young children, every little moment of rest is a crucial step in their development. Even a missed nap here and there can be a problem, and if sleep deprivation becomes the rule, it can lead to significant developmental delays. On the other hand, if your child sleeps more than usual, this can also indicate a developmental problem. That's why you need to understand how much sleep your child needs and why.

How many hours of sleep per age?

Sleep is essential to a child's development and healthy lifestyle, but every child is different. Some sleep a lot, others - a lot less. However, children need different amounts of sleep depending on their age. This chart is a general guide to the number of hours of sleep children generally need:

  • Infants (4-12 months) 12-16 hours
  • Babies (1-2 years) 11-14 a.m.
  • Children (3-5 years) 10-13 hours
  • Children (6-12 years) 9-12 a.m.
  • Teenagers (13-18 years) 8-10 hours

The amount of sleep a child needs depends largely on their age, but this figure will change as they grow.

Newborns (from birth to 4 months)

Number of hours of sleep per day: 12 to 16 hours

baby hour of sleep

Newborns can sleep up to 18 hours a day, 3-4 hours at a time. It's normal and healthy for babies to wake during the night to feed. As your baby grows, he'll stay awake longer during the day and sleep longer at night.

Babies, like adults, need the right signals to know when it's time to sleep. For example, if you always put your baby to sleep in his crib, he will learn that this is where he should sleep. It may not work right away, but over time, your baby will understand.

After 3 months, the baby's sleep become more predictable and you can expect a more regular nap schedule. Trust your baby's signals - he'll tell you when he's tired. A sleep diary can help you determine his regular sleep patterns.

It's a good idea to introduce a nap routine. This can include a quiet cuddle and a short story in a dark room before bedtime.

A few tips for your newborn's sleep:

  • An overtired baby finds it harder to sleep. In fact, napping helps your baby sleep better at night. If you keep your baby awake during the day, he won't be able to sleep any longer at night.
  • Put your baby to bed when he's sleepy but awake. Be sure to let him sleep lying down in his crib or on a firm, flat surface. Keep soft objects such as pillows and stuffed toys away from your baby's crib.
  • A cuddle can soothe and calm your baby. However, it's best to start using a pacifier only when breastfeeding is going well.
  • Your baby will move during the night. Give him a few minutes to calm down before going to see him.
  • Avoid stimulation during breastfeeding and diaper changes. Keep the light subdued.

Babies (4 to 12 months)

Number of hours of sleep per day: 11 to 14 hours

4-month-old baby sleeping

At this age, babies sleep an average of 14 hours a day, but it can be normal for your baby to sleep more or less. By 4 months, most babies need three naps a day: one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the early evening.

Between 6 and 12 months, your baby will probably go from 3 naps a day to 2 longer naps in the morning and afternoon. Every baby needs a different nap. Some sleep just 20 minutes, others 3 hours or more.

A few tips for your baby's sleep:

  • As far as possible, maintain a regular daily rhythm and sleep schedule.
  • A bedtime ritual is important at this age.
  • Don't put your baby to bed with a bottle. This can lead to tooth decay.
  • If your baby wakes up at night and cries around the age of 6 months, check to see if anything is wrong - for example, if he's too cold or too hot - but don't take him out of his crib. You can soothe him by stroking his forehead or speaking softly to show him you're there. In this way, baby learns to soothe himself, which is an important step on the road to autonomous sleep.

Infants (1 to 2 years)

Number of hours of sleep per day: 12 to 16 hours

baby sleeps in bed

As your child begins to walk and talk, his need for sleep will change even more. Children between 12 and 24 months of age will probably start sleeping less or for shorter periods. By trying to establish gentle but firm limits, a daily routine and positive sleep reinforcement, you'll help them get the sleep they need.

Sleep tips for young children:

  • Still, it's important that you follow a sleep rhythm with which your child is familiar. The ritual you established in the first year is even more important for your child.
  • Avoid napping too late, as this can interfere with nocturnal sleep.
  • Help your child to calm down about half an hour before bedtime with stories and quiet activities.
  • Be gentle but firm if your child protests.
  • Make sure the room is quiet, comfortable and conducive to sleep, with subdued lighting, for example.
  • Soft, soothing music can have a relaxing effect.
  • At this age, a reassuring object such as a blanket or comforter is often important.

Children (3 to 5 years)

Number of hours of sleep per day: 10 to 13 hours

sleeping child

Children of kindergarten age generally sleep between 10 and 13 hours a day. By the time your child is 3, he or she will probably take only one nap a day, but many will take a second nap during the day. Some days they need a nap, others they don't. During this period, some children give up completely. take a nap during the day. You can use this time - often after lunch - to let your child read and relax.

At this age, it's common for children to have trouble sleeping and to resist the idea of going to bed. They may also wake up at night because of night fears or nightmares.

Healthy sleep habits for the preschooler:

  • Do not give your child drinks containing caffeine.
  • Avoid screens at bedtime. Don't allow tablets, smartphones, TV, computers or video games in the bedroom.
  • Some children try to delay bedtime. Set limits, such as the number of books you read together, and make sure your child understands what you're talking about.
  • Put your child to bed so he feels safe.
  • Don't ignore their fears at bedtime. If your child has nightmares, reassure and comfort them.

Children (6 to 12 years)

Number of hours of sleep per day: 9-12 hours

sleeping child at naptime

For children aged 6 to 12, the ideal amount of sleep is nine to twelve hours a night. Most, if not all, hours of sleep are spent at night, but a nap during the day can nevertheless be beneficial for younger children. Studies carried out in cultures where napping is practised from elementary school onwards have shown that regular napping is associated with greater satisfaction, better school results and a lower risk of emotional or behavioural problems.

The onset of puberty, which generally occurs around the age of 10 for girls and 12 for boys, often leads to major changes in children's sleep patterns. In the early stages of puberty, children often fall asleep later and have disturbed sleep patterns. This explains why many teenagers feel tired and sleepy during the day at puberty.

How do I know if my child is getting enough sleep?

When children are less than 2 years old, they often show signs of tiredness such as crying or rubbing their eyes. As they get older, children can also show other signs of sleep deprivation. These include:

  • Difficulty getting up on time
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Sleepiness or fatigue during the day
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Behavioral problems such as lateness or absenteeism

What can I do if my child isn't getting enough sleep?

While parents should strive to help their children get enough sleep each night, it's important to remember that slight deviations from the recommended sleep duration are quite common, depending on age.

As a parent, you can take steps to ensure your child gets enough sleep. These include establishing a sleep routine with fixed bedtime and wake-up times, banning blue-light-emitting screens from the bedroom, and setting aside time for physical activity during the day so that your child feels tired and ready to fall asleep at night.

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