Sunday, January 2, 2011

How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?

During the school holidays, I let the kids to sleep late, the latest was at 11.30 pm because they were so excited playing with each other that they couldn't waste any time just to sleep. Hahahaha... So, of course that made them woke up late in the morning, the latest was at 9 am. So, late this evening, while watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey, I was wondering to myself, how many hours does Dayana (7 years old this June) needs to sleep so that she'll have enough rest for school. She needs to wake up at 5.30 am to get ready for school and do the Subuh prayer  (I've vowed to myself to train her do the Subuh prayer everyday without fail starting tomorrow) and needs to start her journey from home at 6.15am because school starts at 6.50 on the dot. The teacher told me that by 6.45, the students have to be in the class and my neighbor (ex-student of the school for 6 years), told me that if you arrived at the school at 6.40am, it's considered late.
I quickly grabbed my Blackberry and googled about sleeping hours for children and being a member of, I found out that this information is very useful for a mum like me, who doesn't have anyone (own mother and mother-in-law) to refer to, regarding this matters. I really thanked the existence of INTERNET for being such an IMPORTANT thing to have in our life! :)

Sleeping angel, baby Darwish


AgeNighttime sleepDaytime sleepAverage total sleep
2 years10.5 to 12.5 hours1 to 3 hours (1 nap)11.5 to 15.5 hours
3 years10.5 to 12.5 hours1 to 3 hours (1 nap)11 to 14 hours
4 years10 to 12 hours0 to 2.5 hours (1 or no nap)10 to 13 hours
5 years10 to 12 hours0 to 2.5 hours (1 or no nap)10 to 12.5 hours
6 years10 to 11.5 hoursnone10 to 11.5 hours
7 years9.5 to 11.5 hoursnone9.5 to 11.5 hours
8 years9.5 to 11.5 hoursnone9.5 to 11.5 hours
*Note: The two sets of numbers don't always add up because children who take longer naps tend to sleep fewer hours at night, and vice versa.

Keep in mind that most kids need a lot of sleep — usually more than parents allow for. Often, says BabyCenter sleep expert Jodi Mindell, author of Sleeping Through the Night, if a child has poor sleep habits or refuses to nap or go to bed before 10 at night, his parents will assume that he just doesn't need much sleep. That's probably not the case — in fact, it's likely that such a child is actually sleep-deprived, hence his hyper, overtired behavior at bedtime. To see whether your child falls into this camp, ask yourself:
  • Does my child frequently fall asleep while riding in the car?
  • Do I have to wake him almost every morning?
  • Does he seem cranky, irritable, or overtired during the day?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may be getting less sleep than his body craves. To change this pattern, you'll need to help him develop good sleep habits, and set an appropriate bedtime and then stick to it. A preschooler or young grade-schooler who's outgrown napping needs a solid 11 to 12 hours of sleep a night, and that amount will gradually decrease as he gets older. Even so, by the time he's a teenager, your child will still need nine to ten hours of shut-eye a night.

After reading this, I decided to ask both Dayana and Danish to sleep at 8pm, the latest is at 8.30pm and they agree without any drama involved. So, mums and dads out there, please take extra care for our kids's sleeping hour and patterns because well rested children will be more alert and ready to learn at school. 

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