When I tell people that I am a Sleep Consultant for children, one of the first questions I get asked is, “How much sleep does my child need?”
Every parent’s dream seems to be to have a child that is a good sleeper. A well-rested child means his or her parents are also well rested. In addition, a child that gets an adequate amount of sleep is less reactive, usually pleasant, have an increased attention span, and appears to handle daily life in a calm manner.
The amount of sleep that is optimal for your child depends on the age of your child. Please keep in mind that the numbers I am going to give you are estimates.
Here is a rough guide to the amount of sleep your child would benefit from:
- Newborn (0 to 3 months) – 16 to 18 hours per day
- 3 to 6 months – 15 hours per day
- 6 to 12 months – 14 hours per day
- 1 to 5 years – 12 – 14 hours per day
- 5 to 12 years – 10 to 11 hours per day
A very common reaction to this is, “That’s a lot of sleep.” It is a great deal of sleep, especially for newborns. Remember this includes naps and overnight sleep in total. An estimate of the number of naps that a child will benefit from are as follows:
- Newborn (0 to 3 months) – 4 or 5 naps per day
- 3 to 6 months – 3 naps per day
- 6 to about 14 months – 2 naps per day
- 15 months to 3 years – 1 nap per day
Marc Weisbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 7) states: “Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain’s battery.” I am a strong believer in optimal rest equals optimal behaviour.
If you are struggling with getting your child to sleep an adequate amount remember that you are not alone. Help is available to give you and your child the gift of sleep. Please feel free to contact me, Brenda from Parenting Foundations, to book your free 15-minute consultation at 403-652-7111.
Happy sleeping, everyone!