Healthy Sleep Habits for Children

Sleep is incredibly important for people of all ages but is especially vital for children who need sleep to grow and stay healthy. In infancy, children spend more time asleep than they do awake, but this changes by the age of two. Still, sleep remains incredibly important, and children of all ages require more sleep each night than adults do. If you are concerned that your child may not be sleeping as he should or that your child is not getting enough sleep, put these healthy sleep tips to work for you.

Create a Bedtime Routine

Nearly every child loves routines and thrives on days when things go much the same as they always do. A bedtime routine can help children know what to expect, can give them a sense of calm and can help them quiet down before the lights go out. What you choose to be a part of your bedtime routine is up to you. Just be sure that it is something that you can maintain longterm. For example, you may want to use bath time, reading time, singing or rocking as part of your child’s nightly routine.

Know How Much Sleep Your Child Needs

Sleep needs for children change as they grow. At a very young age, sleep needs are met through bedtime and one or more naps. By school age, children should be getting all of their necessary sleep at night.

  • Infants younger than three months need 14 to 17 hours of sleep daily.
  • Infants from 4 to 11 months require 12 to 15 hours of sleep.
  • Toddlers to the age of two need 11 to 14 hours.
  • Preschoolers under the age of five need 10 to 13 hours.
  • School-age children need 9 to 11 hours
  • Teenagers to the age of 17 need 8 to 10 hours.

Focus on Foods and Exercise

High quality sleep is about more than the time your child spends in bed. The foods and drinks he consumes and the activities he participates in during the day determine the quality of his sleep. Be sure to avoid products containing caffeine, including chocolate, in the afternoon and evening. In addition, daily exercise can help tire children out for bedtime.

Your child will be able to take these healthy sleeping habits into adulthood. Quality sleep can help with playtime, school time and work as your child grows.