During the early development of a child, the sleep-wake cycle is the primary activity of the brain. Sleep is very important but the amount of sleep varies depending on age. The younger a child is, the more he needs sleep. That’s why, babies take so much time sleeping and as they grow, you notice changes in their sleep cycle.
Sleeping guidelines for babies and toddlers
To better understand your child’s changing need of sleep as he grows, here’s a background for common sleeping guidelines for babies aged 0-18 months.
Infant Sleep Chart
|Age||Total Time of Sleep|
|0 to 2 months||16 to 18 hours|
|2 to 4 months||14 to 16 hours|
|4 to 6 months||14 to 15 hours|
|6 to 9 months||14 hours|
|9 to 12 months||14 hours|
|12 to 18 months||13 to 14 hours|
For newborns (0-2 months old), the typical amount of sleep is 16 to 18 hours divided into short period of hours, usually 2 to four hours intervals. Newborns still do not have the circadian rhythm or the internal biological clock that dictates an individual’s sleeping pattern.
This is mainly the reason why newborns do not have daytime and nighttime cycle. They barely have sleeping patterns at all.
For babies 4 to 11 months old, nighttime sleep can be 9 to 10 hours and nap time during day can be 4 to 5 hours of separate naps. As your baby grows, he will develop a pattern in his sleep and have more time of sleep at night.
When your baby becomes a toddler, he will more likely follow a sleeping routine. Take note that as a parent, you should be the one to set this routine as toddlers tend to refuse taking naps.
Here’s your toddler sleeping guideline for children 18 months to 4 years old:
Toddler Sleep Chart
|Age||Total Time of Sleep||Nighttime Sleep||Daytime Naps|
|18 months to 2 years||13 to14 hours||11 hours||2 to 3 hours|
|2 to 3 years||12 to 14 hours||10 to 11 hours||2 to 3 hours|
|3 to 4 years||11 to 13 hours||10 to12 hours||1 to 2 hours|
Your child’s early years are the perfect time for you to establish a bedtime routine. Once consistent, he will surely appreciate and follow easily. This will help him get relaxed and this will simply make him go to sleep quickly.
Your routine can be giving him a warm bath, putting on his pyjamas, drinking milk, reading a bedtime story and any activity that you think can calm your child. Just be sure to end your ritual in your toddler’s bedroom.
Another important thing is that, his bedroom should be comfortable and that he is at ease whenever he’s there. Make him learn that it’s not just for him to sleep but for him to consider it as his territory. This will help him gain confidence and feel secured in his room and will further help him fall asleep promptly.
The following are some bedtime activities that helped many moms and dads get their children to easier sleep:
- Playing some good music
Music for bedtime shouldn’t be the ones that can boost energy. Choose the ones that are mellow and rhythmic. You may also want to try singing him a song. Children will tend to listen when they know it is your voice speaking or even singing.
- Playing a game
You can play puzzle games with your toddler. Aside from enhancing his mental ability, he will also end up sleeping. Games that require energy like pillow fights can also help in encouraging your toddler’s sleep. After he gets tired, the next thing you’ll know is that he’s already asleep.
- Saying goodnight
Try to be consistent in saying goodnight. This can stimulate him for better sleep. Let the word goodnight be the signal that it is time for him to sleep.
- Leaving a little light on
Children at this young don’t like waking at night with dark room. This will disorient them and may also frighten them when they can’t see anything but black so it is better if you leave a little light on after you tuck him in.
- Sharing your story
Your story can be very interesting to your child but surely, as the story goes, he will feel sleepy and tired.