Naptime: How Much Sleep Do Kids Need and How Do You Get Them to Sleep

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Sleep – it’s one of those precious things every parent wishes they had more of and what kids seem to take for granted.

Sleep, like toilet training and eating preferences, truly depends on each individual child. Some children consistently take naps until the late preschool years, while others are less predictable – taking small naps here and there, even from early infancy.

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

The amount of sleep needed varies depending on the child, but there are some basic guidelines for it.

The National Sleep Foundation offers some recommendations:

 

  • Infants, from birth to 6 months, typically need 14 to 17 hours of sleep each day. Babies tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking up for feeding every 2 to 3 hours. Young babies generally take two or three naps per day.
  • Older infants (6 to 12 months) generally need 12 to 15 hours of sleep and usually take a morning and afternoon nap. These naps seem to range between 20 minutes and two hours.
  • Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours of sleep each day. Most toddlers sleep for an hour or two in the afternoon.
  • Preschoolers still need 10 to 13 hours of sleep; by age 3, many children are resistant to naps. Most children have given up naps by age 5.

 

In a study done by the Queensland University of Technology School of Psychology and Counseling in Australia, they found that daytime naps were not nearly as important as quality nighttime sleep. They didn’t indicate that daytime naps had any negative effects, but just that they might not be as essential to older toddlers and preschoolers as we generally believe.

Basically, you should feel comfortable being flexible with your children’s naps based on their needs. For example, a child who has trouble waking in the morning or frequently falls asleep on short car rides probably didn’t get enough sleep and may require a nap. Irritability or trouble focusing can also indicate inadequate sleep. On the other hand, a child who goes to bed and wakes up easily at a reasonable hour and has the stamina to stay awake all day can probably give up naps.

Some young children might need a nap while attending their Orlando daycare but skip a nap on the weekends. It’s ok to be flexible.

Naptime Tips

For those children who are younger and still need that extra sleep time, here are some naptime tips:

Be as consistent as possible. Schedule changes are inevitable, but trying to maintain a predictable nap schedule can help children fall asleep more quickly.

Wind down. Children often have busy minds and bodies. Taking a short walk after lunch and then settling in with a story can help ease the transition to sleep. You can also try peaceful music or white noise to help.

Find a schedule that works. Long afternoon naps can cause major trouble at bedtime. Children may need to wake up earlier in the morning in order to have naptime earlier in the day. Small schedule adjustments can really make a big difference.

Create downtime. Even if children aren’t tired, providing a quiet time to read or play – 30 minutes to an hour – can help children relax. If they are tired, they may fall asleep during this time even if they don’t nap every day.

We know that young children need plenty of sleep for brain development and physical growth, yet exactly how much (and when) is somewhat fluid.

Kids & Company offers so much more than the typical Orlando daycare. Free hot meals, free PM transportation, after school care until 7pm, and we even have the option for Saturday and night care at our Curry Ford location. With two locations in Orlando, there is a convenient location for you and your child. If you have any questions about our programs, including infant care, childcare, VPK, or after school programs give us a call at (407) 227-1015.

Staff 5/2/2017

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