Sleeping Time: How Many Hours Does my Child Need to Sleep?
Every child is different; some children will need more sleep than others.
Sleeping difficulties are extremely common. If you suspect your child isn't sleeping enough, it's important to bring your concern to your paediatrician. In many cases, we can change the environment and habits surrounding bedtime to overcome sleeping difficulties, and also explore the root cause. Perhaps your child is having a difficult time and needs your support to express and manage certain emotions. The amount of time that your child needs to sleep may be different depending on the day. However, their sleeping needs are normally constant.
Here is some information about recommended hours for every age:
-1 year: 11 hours (2 hours 30 minutes daytime)
-2 years: 11 hours and 30 minutes (1 hour 30 minutes daytime)
-3 years: 11 hours and 30 minutes to 12 hours (0-45 minutes daytime)
-4 years: 11 hours and 30 minutes
-5 years: 11 hours
-6 years: 10 hours and 45 minutes
-7 years: 10 hours and 30 minutes
-8 years: 10 hours and 15 minutes
-9 years: 10 hours
-10 years: 9 hours and 45 minutes
-11 years: 9 hours and 30 minutes
-12 years: 9 hours and 15 minutes
It is important to monitor your child’s sleep to identify the type of issue and root cause, the amount of time they slept, what happened before and after the problem, and what kind of difficulty they are presenting, e.g. difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep. When we have all of this information, we are able to provide the best support. So, we need to identify what kind of problem they are facing: Is your child having difficulties falling asleep? Have you seen them struggling by waking up frequently during the night or waking up early? Have you noticed on your child signs of fatigue or not feeling rested after a reasonable amount of sleep? Is your child sleeping well, but at the wrong times? Are they experiencing night terrors or nightmares?
We can say that a child may need between fifteen and thirty minutes to fall asleep. If they need more time to get to this stage every night, they will need support with this. A consistent, calm and early bedtime routine free of screen time will lead to better sleep.
Here are some guidelines to encourage regular good sleep:
· Maintain the same bedtime and waking-up times.
· Create a special routine for every night. For example, it might be dinner, a bath, and then time to connect with your child by talking about how their day was and reading a story together.
· It is essential to make time at the end of the day to connect with your child, by creating a space of full attention and emotional connection. We need to be truly there for them, allowing moments where true presence, acceptance and affection are present. Children need to express their emotions and feel free to talk about their worries.
· Make sure the environment is relaxed: the temperature is good, they feel comfortable on the bed in a darkened room without noises.
· Try to avoid screens, stimulating drinks, exercise during the evening, and anything that could prevent your child from feeling calm and relaxed before going to bed.