14 March, 2009

How much sleep?

As a new parent, that's probably one of your biggest questions. Below are some general guidelines as to how many hours of sleep the average child requires at various ages. Of course, every child is different — some need up to two hours more or less sleep than others.

AgeNighttime SleepDaytime Sleep *Total Sleep
1 month8 1/27 (3)15 1/2
3 months105 (3)15
6 months113 1/4 (2)14 1/4
9 months113 (2)14
12 months11 1/42 1/2 (2)13 3/4
18 months11 1/42 1/4 (1)13 1/2
2 years112 (1)13
3 years10 1/21 1/2 (1)12
* number of naps in parentheses

Keep in mind that most children need lots of sleep. Often, says if a child has poor sleep habits or refuses to go to bed before 11 at night, his parents will think that he just doesn't need a lot of sleep. That's probably not true — in fact, it's likely that such a child is actually sleep-deprived. To see whether your child falls into that camp, ask yourself these questions:

• Does your child fall asleep almost every time he's in a car?

• Do you have to wake your child almost every morning?

• Does your child seem cranky, irritable, or overtired during the day?

• On some nights, does your child seem to crash much earlier than his usual bedtime?

If you answered "yes" to any of these, your child may be getting less sleep than he needs. To change this pattern, you'll need to help him develop good sleep habits and set an appropriate bedtime.

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