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3/13/22blog post

try these small sleep changes to make a big difference

small changes can make a big difference in your child’s sleep

Whether you’re trying to tackle a newborn’s sleep schedule (not to mention trying to get sleep yourself) or parenting a teen who thinks they’re too cool for it, sleep is a very common concern for all parents. Not getting enough sleep can lead to troubles down the road for parents and children.

According to KidsHealth about 25% of children have sleep problems. Many parents have the same questions; how do we know how much sleep is enough sleep? Is my child getting quality sleep?

“As we head into National Sleep Awareness week, I hope to provide you with some important tips about sleep and why it’s important for your child,” says Zach Woessner, PsyD, behavioral sleep medicine specialist at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

how much sleep do kids need?
Every child is different and the amount of sleep a child needs varies by age. We stick to the following recommendations:

  • Infants (0-3 months): 14-17 hours, including naps
  • Infants (4-12 months): 12-16 hours, including naps
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours, including naps
  • Preschool (3-5 years): 10-13 hours, including naps
  • School-age (6-13 years): 9-12 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours

is my child getting enough sleep?
The most common question I receive from parents is wondering if their child is getting enough sleep. If you child is experiencing any of the following symptoms it may be a sign that they aren’t getting enough sleep:

  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Easily distracted, shorter attention span
  • Not able to pay attention
  • Struggling with school
  • Cranky, irritable or moody
  • Behavior problems

how can we make sure kids are getting enough sleep?
It’s important to have a bedtime routine that encourages good habits. Incorporating these tips can help your child get a good night sleep:

  • Try to keep a regular bedtime and wake time. Going to sleep every night and waking up at the same time helps your child fall into a routine that is good for their growth and development.
  • The bed should be used for sleep
  • Limit screen time before bed. Turn off TVs, phones, tables and video games one hour before bedtime.
  • When it comes to older kids and teenagers, help them set a bedtime that ensures they are getting the full hours of sleep they need as insufficient sleep is most problematic in the teenager years.

Good sleep habits formed at a young age can help our children grow and develop, and keep their immune systems strong. Learn more about sleep and good habits here.

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Zachary Woessner, PsyD.

behavioral health, psychology
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