Ask any parent what makes the biggest difference in their lives, and you’ll likely hear the same answer: good sleep. Besides making the whole family happier and less stressed, good sleep is crucial for your child.
Getting the right amount of sleep is associated with better memory and increased attention; better regulation of their emotions; and even benefits their physical health. When kids don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, the problems can be daunting. They can have trouble learning, start having behavioral challenges, and experience health problems you’d more commonly expect in adults, like hypertension and depression.
But when you’re in the trenches dealing with a child who’s having trouble with sleep—and causing you to be sleep deprived yourself—it can be really, really frustrating. All that hard work you did back when they were a baby (I still remember the heartbreaking cries of my own when we did sleep training) seems like it’s gone out the window.
The first step to getting back on track is to make sure you know what the right amount of sleep is for your child—and the signs that they may not be getting it.
How much sleep does my child need?
Of course, every child is different, but here’s a good baseline from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Don’t stress out if they’re not hitting their range every single night, but definitely look for patterns if you’re concerned.
Newborn to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours
3 months to 1 year: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
1 to 3 years: 10 to 14 hours (including naps)
3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
What are the signs my child isn’t getting enough sleep?
Next, look for these common signs that your child isn’t getting enough shut eye.
For babies & toddlers
- They’re cranky, whiny, or fussy regularly, especially in the late afternoon
- They’re acting especially clingy
- They’re more fidgety or antsy than usual
- They’re more quiet than usual
- They wake up groggy
- They fall asleep during short car rides
- They’re snoring
For young kids
- They’re hyperactive
- They fall asleep at inappropriate times
- You have to wake them up several times each morning
- Their attention span has decreased
- They’re having problems with their schoolwork or homework
- They have trouble falling asleep at night
- They start having night terrors or sleepwalking
- They’re snoring loudly
- They’re anxious about being separated from you (day and night)
The good news is you can get your kid back on the good sleep track, and our 6 Tips for Bedtime Bliss is a great place to start.
If your child needs extra support from time to time, our Kids Sleep Liquid and Chewables can help. They contain our own special blend of melatonin plus calming herbs to help reset your child’s “sleep clock” and bring bliss back to bedtime.