Getting More Sleep with Young Children

posted 10/25/22 -- Bring up the topic of children and sleep and parents will have many questions. “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” “How much sleep should my child get each day?” The lack of answers often plagues tired parents.

While every child is different and requires a varying amount of sleep to thrive properly, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has created guidelines for how much young children should sleep.

Newborns will sleep an average of 16 to 18 hours a day through their first 3 months. Until they reach 4 to 6 months old or 11 to 14 pounds, they metabolically need to wake up and eat during the night. Keeping the lights turned down low, playing music in the background, and speaking in a soft voice can begin to train them for a longer night’s sleep.

While it is recommended that infants sleep in the same room as their parents for the first 6 to 12 months, they should sleep in their own space. They should be alone, on their back, on a firm safe mattress away from any blankets or pillows.

It is not unusual for toddlers between the ages of 1 to 2 years old to begin suffering from separation anxiety. Before a parent knows it, their little one may be crawling in to bed with them.

Whether you are trying to get your 6 month old to sleep 7 hours in a row, or you are assuring your toddler that they are safe and can sleep on their own, there are steps you can take to make sleep time a little easier:

  • Create a bedtime routine and be consistent.
  • Eliminate activities close to bedtime that are stimulating, including the use of electronics.
  • Try the 3 Bs: Bath, Book and Bed.
  • Play soft music.
  • Rock, cuddle and reassure them.
  • Lay them down when they are drowsy but still awake, this will help them to learn how to self-soothe.

Remember, take it one day at a time. Your little one will soon be sleeping on their own and you will have made it through this time.