Healthful Sleep Routines

As our lives become more hectic, few Americans are getting enough sleep. Our youngest children are no exception. During the summer it may be even more difficult to maintain sleep routines, making it even more difficult for infants and toddlers to meet the recommendations on the sleep table below:

When young children are well-rested they have better control over their emotions, are able to make smoother transitions, and have fewer behavior problems. Additionally, researchers have found that children who sleep less than the recommended amount at age 2 are more likely to be obese at age 7.

Signs your infant may not be getting enough sleep include:

  • Regularly getting fewer than 14-16 hours of sleep in a twenty-four hour period.
  • Jerking awake just when you think he has drifted off to sleep.
  • Thrashing and shrieking.

Signs you toddler may not be getting enough sleep include:

  • Regularly getting fewer than 13 hours of sleep in a twenty-four hour period.
  • Getting frustrated or overwhelmed easily.
  • Being upset by changes in routine.
  • Having frequent falls and injuries.
  • Getting over-tired or cranky before bedtime.
  • Becoming frenzied or hyperactive.
  • Being more tearful, anxious, or impatient than usual.

Tips for bedtime routines:

  • Keep it as consistent as you can each night.
  • Decide on a bedtime by counting backwards, the number of recommended hours he needs for his age, from when he needs to wake up.
  • Plan a calming activity before bedtime such as taking a bath or reading a story.
  • Avoid TV/movies, active games, and roughhousing close to bedtime.
  • Give children a transition time. Say, “It’s bedtime after we read this story.”
  • Set limits on the number of stories, drinks of water, kisses goodnight, etc.
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine remains in a child’s system longer than it does in an adult’s. Children who drink caffeinated beverages sleep less than those who don’t.
  • Keep bedrooms dark at bedtime and free of televisions and computers.
  • Avoid putting your child in his or her bed as a punishment for misbehavior.

Sleep deprivation affects adults, as well. Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you find your parenting is being affected because you are short tempered, easily frustrated, inflexible or argumentative, or if you are forgetful and feel sluggish you may need more sleep.

For more information, visit the following link:

Children and Sleep

Last updated July 26, 2019