Age-Wise Healthy Sleeping Schedule For Kids

Age-Wise Healthy Sleeping Schedule For Kids

19 May 2022 | 6 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 484 Articles

Sleep, or lack of sleep is a common concern for parents. Parents understand that the well-being of everyone in the house can depend on the child’s sleep schedule. It is important that babies and children of all age groups get enough sleep as the lack of it, can cause behavioural problems, learning problems and trouble in focusing. Let’s have a look at the age-wise sleeping schedule for kids that can keep them healthy.

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

The right amount of sleep that a child needs varies by age. While every child is different, here’s what experts recommend:

Newborn (0–3 months)

Newborns need to sleep anywhere between 14–17 hours which also includes naps.
A newborn baby commonly naps for about 3-4 hours during the day which is very normal. While this nap time decreases as they get older, they still nap for at least 2-3 hours or more each day.

Naptime helps the baby consolidate specific memories while also benefiting them in learning and brain development.

Additionally, premature babies generally need more sleep than babies who were born at full term. It is common for them to spend almost 90% of their time sleeping

Healthy Sleeping Tips for Newborn

  • Let your infant nap during the day as it helps them sleep better at night. Making them stay awake during the day will only make them tired and cause them to have trouble sleeping.
  • Your baby might make slight movements during the night. But do not address them instantly, give them a few minutes to settle on their own and only go if that does not happen.
  • Rocking and cuddling your baby will not spoil them, you can do it.
  • Put your baby back in the crib if they appear drowsy by making them lie on their back and remove any soft toys from the crib.
If your infant does not take proper naps, overtiring can make it difficult for them to fall asleep at night / Credit – The Champa Tree

Infants (4–12 months)

At the age of 4-12 months, babies need about 12-16 hours of sleep every day. It can also be at an average of 14 hours a day. However, a little more or less can also be normal. Once your baby is about four months, they require about three naps in a day which is during the morning, afternoon and early evening. 

Babies between 6 and 12 months might take 2 long naps during the morning and afternoon instead of three naps during the day. However, each baby has a different napping need and some can even nap as little as 20 minutes to more than three hours at a time.  

Healthy Sleeping Tips for Infants

  • Maintain a regular schedule of the daytime nap and bedtime sleep as much as possible
  • Avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle as it can cause tooth decay.
  • For infants that are about 6 months, try not to take them out of the crib in case they fuss, instead, just check if they are feeling too hot or cold and make necessary adjustments. 
  • Talk to them softly to let them know you’re there and stroke the forehead gently. This will help them learn how to soothe themselves and also fall back asleep on their own.
Make the room dim and cosy without any noise for children to fall asleep easily / Credit – Canva

Toddlers (1–2 years)

Toddlers must sleep between 11 and 14 hours every day. Their napping duration decreases to about 1-2 hours each day. While some toddlers take two naps during the day, it is totally normal for them to take only an afternoon nap too. 

Healthy Sleeping Habits for Toddlers

  • It is crucial that you establish a sleep schedule during the first year itself so that they stick to the schedule
  • Keep the lights dim and the bedroom cosy for them to fall asleep
  • Avoid making them nap too late during the day as it can affect their nighttime sleep schedule
  • Wind up stories or quiet activities at least thirty minutes before bedtime.

Preschool (3–5 years)

As per the NSF, preschoolers between the ages of 3 and 5 years need to sleep for at least 10-13 hours. The naps may get shorter or there might be days when they do not nap at all.

Healthy Sleeping Habits for Preschoolers

  • Avoid giving drinks that contain caffeine
  • Do not allow tablets, mobile phones or any other gadgets in the bedroom to help them limit their screen time
  • Comfort your child if they have bedtime fears such as nightmares.
  • Set limits on how many books they can read before bed as some children try to delay bedtime.
Avoid giving caffeine-based drinks during the late evening to preschoolers, school-going children and teens / Credit – Canva

School-age (6–13 years)

It is recommended that school-age children between 6 to 13 years of age should sleep for about 9-11 hours every day. Additionally, younger school-age children normally need more sleep than those children who are approaching high school. As per the AASM, the sleep duration can be up to 12 hours.

Healthy Sleeping Habits for School-age Children

  • Play gentle music or read a story
  • Maintain a regular sleep and wake-up schedule even during the weekends
  • Make them get enough daylight throughout the day
  • Caffeine drinks must be avoided during late evenings

Teens (14–17 years)

Teens are recommended to sleep for 8 to 10 hours. However, their sleep patterns change as they enter adolescence which may affect their sleep. As the body’s internal biological clock referred to as the body’s circadian rhythm resets, some teens tend to wake up later and sleep later. 

As during night the brain produces the hormone melatonin in teens, it can make it harder for them to fall asleep. Additionally, electronic devices like cell phones, laptops and tablets makes it hard to fall asleep.

Healthy Sleeping Habits for Teens

  • Make teens do physical activties like sports and exercise
  • Do not encourage them to take afternoon naps
  • Limit their caffeine intake
  • Avoid music or sound machines to sleep as it can stimulate the brain delaying sleep


How Can I Tell if My Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep? 

If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, he or she may:

  • Fall asleep during the day
  • Younger children tend to be hyperactive
  • Lack of attention
  • School work is affected
  • They can be moody, cranky, irritable or whiny
  • Behaviour issues

What to Do if Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Enough?

Parents can talk to a paediatrician if they have concerns regarding their sleep. Additionally, parents can track the child’s sleep patterns using a sleep diary to help the doctor determine whether the baby has a normal sleep or if there’s a sleeping problem.

Parents can reduce the speed of response to their babies awakenings at night to help them learn self-soothing. Additionally, pushing back the bedtime might also help your baby stay asleep for longer. 

Ensure that the baby has a calm and quiet environment for sleeping along with a consistent sleep schedule. To maintain the infant sleep hygiene, also consider important safety measures that help your infant not have a risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Cover image credit – BabyCenter











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