Getting enough sleep is as important as taking in the right nutrients, essential in staying healthy. As parents, we may be pretty much aware of this fact. However, are we really making sure that our children are getting the right amount of sleep? We can get so busy during the day, that our kids can easily spend nap time doing other things. For a child to get the right amount of sleep, parents need to make sure that they are not skipping their naps.

It is essential for a child to get the right amount of good quality sleep, including the proper number of naps necessary for his age. This is vital so that children can grow, develop, and function properly. While sleep needs in children may vary depending on a child’s age, individual variations may still occur. Here are some guidelines on the average daily sleep requirements in children:

Birth – 6 Months

During the beginning months, infants may sleep on an off around the clock. They are required to sleep for a total of 16 to 20 hours per day, and they may wake every 2 to 3 hours only to feed. As they reach 4 months, their sleep rhythms may already be more established. They can already sleep for 10 to 12 hours at night, which may only be interrupted due to a feeding. They may also have an average of 3 to 5 hours of daytime sleep, which can be divided into two or three naps.

Babies – 6 to 12 Months Old

For babies this age, they usually get around 11 hours of night time sleep. They may also need around 3-4 hours of daytime naps. At this time, some parents may be getting more sleep because there are babies who may no longer need night feedings.

Toddlers – Ages 1 to 3 Years Old

Toddlers normally need 10 to 13 hours of sleep, including a daytime nap of around 1 to 3 hours. Some toddlers may be having two naps during the day. Make sure that these naps are not too close to bedtime. Otherwise, a child may have difficulty falling asleep when it is already time for bed.

Preschoolers – Ages 3 to 5 Years Old

The average amount of sleep that preschoolers get is around 10 to 12 hours at night, and they may also need a nap during the day. However, five year old children may already give up daytime naps.

School Age Children – Ages 5 to 12 Years Old

Children during this age require around 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Some 5-year old children may no longer need naps at this time, but there are others who may still need to sleep during the day. If your child is no longer having a nap, make sure that your child has an earlier bedtime.

It is really essential for parents to supervise naps and bedtimes, so that children get the right amount of sleep. Keep watch for signs of insufficient sleep in your child. If your child is sleepy during the day, or if he gets really irritable late in the afternoon, chances are your child may not be getting enough sleep. Morning battles are also common for children who lack sleep. A child may also have difficulty focusing on school work and other tasks, when sleep is deficient.

In order for children to develop healthy sleeping habits, parents need to reinforce the practice early on. Parents are bound to encounter challenges, but it will definitely be worth all the effort, especially when it can mean pleasant days ahead.