3-6 Years Old: 10 – 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 – 11 hours per day
12-18 Years Old: 8 – 9 hours per day
What are some signs my child is not getting enough sleep?
- Difficulty waking in the morning.
- Awakening in an irritable mood
- Decreased attentiveness and alertness during the day.
- Frequently falling asleep during the day outside of normal napping hours, or frequently falling asleep during the day after naps are no longer part of the daily routine.
- Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night.
How can I help my child improve their sleep patterns?
- Studies have shown that children (and adults) who watch TV, play video games or use other electronics before bed took a longer time to fall asleep than those who avoided screen time. It’s always easier said than done, but try to avoid screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime.
- Dim the lights. Turn off some of the lights or use table lamps in the 30 minutes before bed.
- Create a bedtime routine that can be completed in 30 minutes or less. Give your child some control over the routine, such as choosing a book to read or what PJs to wear.
- Provide calming and organizing sensory input. Taking a bath, getting a lotion massage, or providing deep pressure via “pillow squishes” can help a child with a high arousal level transition to sleep. To safely do pillow squishes, have your child lay on a solid but comfortable surface on their belly. With a couch cushion, large body pillow or several smaller pillows, provide firm pressure to their back, arms and legs for the duration your child desires. Always be sure his face is not covered and his breathing is not impeded.
- Some children benefit from a supplement called Melatonin. If your child is still having sleep difficulties after trying bedtime routines and sensory strategies, you may wish to discuss potential use of Melatonin with your pediatrician.