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6 Questions Parents Ask About Kids Sleep

Sleep is a critical key to the development and well-being of all humans, kids especially. There are several common questions that parents have as their kids are growing and developing.  Sleep-deprived kids can be at risk for hindered brain and body development.  Kids who aren’t getting adequate sleep are more vulnerable to develop behavioral problems, academic struggles,  health issues, and potentially, more risk-taking behaviors. Increased anxiety and depression are also associated with sleep-deprived kids. 

1. What is the recommended amount of sleep for children of different ages? 

  • 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • At around 6 months, babies are typically capable of sleeping through the night.
  • 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Most toddlers give up their morning nap by about 18 months and take one long afternoon nap of an hour and a half to three hours.
  • 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Most preschoolers stop taking naps between 3 and 5 years of age.
  • 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
  • School-age children should not need a nap.
  • 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hour

 

2. What can parents do to help their children sleep better?

  •  Set up a bedtime routine-start around the same time each night to encourage good sleep patterns.
  •  Relax before bedtime-wind down by reading a book, listening to gentle music, or practicing breathing for relaxation.
  • Check noise, light, & temperature in your child’s room- Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones, and tablets suppresses melatonin levels and delays sleepiness.
  • Get plenty of natural light during the day-Encourage your child to get as much natural light as possible during the day, especially in the morning.
  1. Should I lie down with my child to help them fall asleep?
  •  Set up a bedtime routine-start around the same time each night to encourage good sleep patterns.
  • Check noise, light, & temperature in your child’s room- Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones, and tablets suppresses melatonin levels and delays sleepiness.

Get plenty of natural light during the day-Encourage your child to get as much natural light as possible during the day, especially in the morning.

 

3. Should I lie down with my child to help them fall asleep?

  •  Set up a bedtime routine-start around the same time each night to encourage good sleep patterns.
  •  Relax before bedtime-wind down by reading a book, listening to gentle music, or practicing breathing for relaxation.
  • Check noise, light, & temperature in your child’s room- Blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones, and tablets suppresses melatonin levels and delays sleepiness.

Get plenty of natural light during the day-Encourage your child to get as much natural light as possible during the day, especially in the morning.

 

4. Does it help to use white noise or relaxing sounds during sleep?

Since white noise contains all frequencies at equal intensity, it can mask loud sounds that stimulate your brain. That’s why it’s often recommended for sleeping difficulties and sleep disorders like insomnia.

White noise can be a big help when it comes to children and babies, who might be sleeping so lightly that any noise at all will wake them up.

How long before bed should I start my child’s bedtime routine?

  1. Having a bedtime routine not only helps make bedtime easier but also helps them sleep longer and better.
  • Make Your Bedtime Routine Consistent
  • Start Your Child’s Bedtime Routine at the Right Time ( early than you think)
  • Keep the Bedtime Routine Short & Sweet.
  • Include favorite relaxing bedtime activities.

Children who had a regular bedtime routine fell asleep faster, had an earlier bedtime, had fewer night wakings, and slept longer than children who did not have a regular bedtime routine.

 

5. Having a bedtime routine not only helps make bedtime easier but also helps them sleep longer and better.

  • Make Your Bedtime Routine Consistent
  • Start Your Child’s Bedtime Routine at the Right Time ( early than you think)
  • Keep the Bedtime Routine Short & Sweet.
  • Include favorite relaxing bedtime activities.

Children who had a regular bedtime routine fell asleep faster, had an earlier bedtime, had fewer night wakings, and slept longer than children who did not have a regular bedtime routine!

 

6. When should my child stop napping during the day?

Naps are a wonderful thing for both an overwhelmed parent and an exhausted child. Check out this blog and video where Doc Parsley discusses everything you should consider

There are a few signs that your child may be ready to stop napping daily. 

  • Your child has difficulty falling asleep for naps or doesn’t seem tired at all.
  • Your child won’t go to sleep at their usual bedtime.
  • 5 years old is usually when children stop napping.

Noticing these clues and fostering stress-free approaches around sleep opportunities is crucial; it allows children to have positive associations with sleep that stay with them well into adulthood

Better Sleep For Your Whole Family

Getting quality sleep consistently has tons of health benefits. In fact, we should be placing as much, if not more, importance on sleep than we do with nutrition and physical fitness. But getting great sleep does not happen overnight. It takes practice. But once you nail down the nighttime routine, you will be well on your way to enjoying the many mental and physical benefits of getting restorative, rejuvenating sleep.

We’ve provided a sleep optimization checklist to help you get into the routine. We’ve also added a daily journal and weekly sleep tracker to help you keep track of your progress. Work on this daily with your child and keep this up for a few weeks. You will feel the difference!

Sleep Optimization Checklist

Pick a bedtime and a wake-time for your child to stick to for at least several weeks

Set a nighttime alarm so you know when to start the ritual

At least 3 hours before bedtime, start blocking all blue light (blue-blocking glasses are a big help!)

Decrease mental stimulation. This means no TV, no Mensa puzzles, no video games.

This is a good time for coloring or talking amongst family members

Lower body temperature for sleep (taking a bath is a great way to do this, also adjust the thermostat between 64 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The Ooler is also a great addition to an optimal sleep atmosphere.

When your night-time alarm sounds, begin your bedtime preparations and be in bed, ready to sleep no later than your bedtime.

Remove any items that will tell you the time or display light during your sleep time (toys, tablets, clocks, etc.). Place your morning alarm out of sight (under a towel, in your drawer, under the bed.

When your morning alarm goes off the next day, fill out your Sleep/Wake diary for the day.

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