Parents often ask me how much sleep their child needs, both during the day and at night. The following is a very detailed list broken down by ages to give you and idea of how many hours of sleep the AVERAGE child requires at various ages (taken from “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” by Dr. Richard Ferber-original edition). Remember, every child is different- some need more or less sleep than others- but variations should not be huge.
NIGHT TIME SLEEP
|1 week||8½ hours||8 hours (4 naps)||16½ hours|
|1 month||8½ hours||7 hours (3 naps)||15½ hours|
|3 months||10 hours||5 hours (3 naps)||15 hours|
|6 months||11 hours||3¼ hours (2-3 naps)||14¼ hours|
|9 months||11 hours||3 hours (2 naps)||14 hours|
|12 months||11¼ hours||2½ hours (2 naps)||13¾ hours|
|18 months||11¼ hours||2¼ hours(1 nap)||13½ hours|
|2 years||11 hours||2 hours (1 nap)||13 hours|
|3 years||10½ hours||1½ hours (1 nap)||12 hours|
|4 years||11½ hours||No nap||11½ hours|
|5 years||11 hours||11 hours|
|6 years||10¾ hours||10¾ hours|
|7 years||10½ hours||10½ hours|
|8 years||10¼ hours||10¼ hours|
|9 years||10 hours||10 hours|
|10 years||9¾ hours||9¾ hours|
|11 years||9½ hours||9½ hours|
|12 years||9¼ hours||9¼ hours|
|13 years||9¼ hours||9¼ hours|
|14 years||9 hours||9 hours|
|15 years||8¾ hours||8¾ hours|
|16 years||8½ hours||8½ hours|
|17 years||8¼ hours||8¼ hours|
|18 years||8¼ hours||8¼ hours|
Remember, most children need A LOT of sleep! Many parents think that if their child refuses to
go to bed before 11pm that they “just don’t need a lot of sleep”. In fact, that child may actually be
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your child fall asleep almost every time he/she is in the car?
- Do you have to wake your child almost every morning?
- Does your child seem cranky, irritable or overtired during the day?
- On some nights, does your child seem to crash much earlier than his usual bedtime?
- Does your child often wake for the day before 6:00a.m.?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions your child may not be getting enough sleep. It is more important to focus on your child’s behavior than the actual number of hours of sleep. “In general, the more children sleep at night, the better behaved they will be” says Dr. Weissbluth.
How true that is!
The right AMOUNT and QUALITY of sleep effect our children’s:
- attention spans
- ability to play independently
- ability to take in fully and learn from their environment
Adapted from Kim West, LCSW-C, LLC, The Sleep Lady ®