Is your child getting enough sleep?

Posted by Jessica Sosso, M.D.
April 09, 2015

Child Sleeping_Small

Is it a daily struggle to get your child out of bed in the morning? If so, it’s likely that they aren’t getting enough total sleep throughout the day. Children need a surprisingly large amount of rest each day. Of course, every child’s needs are different, but the average amount of hours needed depends on a child’s age.

Experts recommend the following hours of sleep based on your child’s age:

  • Two-year-olds should get 10 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep, as well as one to three hours of naptime every day.
  • Three-year-olds should receive nine to 12 hours of nighttime sleep and one to three hours of naptime.
  • Four-year-olds should get nine to 12 hours of nighttime sleep. Naps are recommended, but need varies by child. Naps should be no longer than two-and-a-half hours.
  • Five-year-olds should have eight to 11 hours of nighttime sleep, as well as an optional nap, no longer than two-and-half hours.
  • Children ages six through eight should get 10 to 11 hours of nighttime sleep, and they shouldn’t take naps.

Getting enough rest can reduce your child’s irritability throughout the day. Ensuring your child consistently has the hours of sleep they need can help them stay awake until bedtime and reduce their hyper behavior when it’s time for sleep.

Jessica Sosso MD

Healthy sleeping habits

It’s essential to develop good sleeping habits and stick to a routine. A healthy diet that limits sugar and caffeine, as well as at least one hour of daily physical activity is important for sleep.

If your child doesn’t want to settle down for bedtime, try doing quiet family activities an hour before they’re put to sleep. Activity ideas include puzzles, reading or coloring. Using electronics like computers, mobile devices or videogames before bedtime can make it harder for your child to decompress.

Make sure you aren’t the cause of your child’s restlessness. Talk or laugh quietly with your spouse or older children while your younger children are sleeping. It can be hard for your child to fall asleep or want to stay in bed while they hear excitement from another room.

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