• Newborn to 6 months- 16 to 20 hours
• 6 to 12 months- 14 to 15 hours
• 1 to 3 years- 10 to 13 hours
• 3 to 10 years- 10 to 12 hours
• 11 to 12 years- about 10 hours
• Teenagers- about nine hours
Keep in mind that these numbers reflect total sleep hours in a 24-hour period. For example, 12-year-olds who get up at 7 a.m. should be in bed by at least 9 p.m. to get their full 10 hours of sleep. Children who are regularly sleep deprived are often exhibit behavioral problems. They may be irritable, overly emotional, have difficulty concentrating, forget easily, wake up several times during the night and may exhibit hyperactive behaviors. Be firm about a bedtime routine. A routine could include giving your children choices about which pajamas to wear, the stuffed animal he or she wants to take to bed, etc. Try a warm, relaxing bath. Playing soft and soothing music can help. Tucking your children into bed snugly can give them a feeling of security. Follow through with your plan consistently each evening, even if your children protest and test you at first. If you are firm, they will come to respect your guidance. Moving their bedtime up a half hour is another way to help them get enough sleep. To do this, try including a winding-down period in the bedtime routine. Your child may enjoy cuddling while being read a bedtime story or playing a quiet board game with you.
Avoid permitting your child to drink caffeinated beverages near bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and can disrupt a childís normal sleep rhythm. An hour or two before bedtime children might enjoy a light snack like some crackers, a handful of cereal, fresh fruit or vegetables, popcorn or a small portion of sherbet, but they should not eat a heavy meal just before going to bed. Don’t give your baby or toddler a bottle to aid sleeping. This can cause “baby bottle tooth decay” because the fluids tend to pool in the childís mouth. Remind younger children about their approaching bedtime by giving them a heads-up a half hour before and a 10-minute warning. Encourage your older children to set and maintain a bedtime that allows for the full number of hours needed for their age. Some firm limit setting may be necessary here if your children are not able to discipline themselves to go to bed on time.
Just remember that every child is different, and there’s not just one way to raise a good sleeper. As active as children are, most have the ability to sleep well. The key is for parents to help them establish healthy sleep habits and have a routine of winding down before heading for bed. For more information about children and sleep, contact the Logan County Cooperative Extensive Service.
Source: Carole Gnatuk, Extension Child Development Specialist