By Nina Cavalli and the American Academy of Pediatric
Sleep needs vary from person to person, but there are some guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for healthy sleep for infants and children.
The following are guidelines and not absolute times for a 24-hour period. Also, remember these hours include naps in the younger age groups.
- Infants (4-12 months): 12-18 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11- 14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
- Grade School – (6-12 years): 9-12 hours
- Teens (13-18 years): 8-10 hours
The following are tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and persona- practice for healthy sleeping habits, which have been found to be beneficial.
1. Keep a regular daily routine. This includes daytime activities (meals, activities, play time, etc.) and a bedtime routine.
2. No electronics 1-2 hours before bed. This includes ALL electronic devices such as TV, cel- phones, computers…anything with a screen. Al- screens emit blue light, which causes a decrease in a person’s melatonin leve- (a chemica- in our body that helps with sleep).
3. For older children/teens: NO cell phones in bed as this WILL disrupt sleep when they ring in the middle of the night.
4. Be active during the day. Living in Florida, we can be outside most of the year enjoying the fresh air and sunny weather (don’t forget the sunscreen).
5. For older children (>5): No napping during the day/after school. This causes a disruption in the sleep cycle and can cause worsening sleep habits. Instead, let the child go to bed early and try resetting the sleep schedule gradually.
6. Avoid overscheduling. Take time to wind down and give children the downtime they need.
7. For infants and toddlers: Do not put them to bed with a bottle of juice, milk or formula. Water is okay. Anything other than water can cause tooth decay. Feed or nurse, then put down for sleep.
8. White noise may be helpful for some children as a constant background noise may “lull” a child to sleep. There are free apps that can be used. Do not use music as background.
Parents understand the importance of getting enough sleep and how sleep affects the overall health of their child (and you). Remember you are the role model for your children and set a good example. Make sleep a priority for your family
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