Spring into good sleep habits

Spring is here! It’s so nice to have brighter, longer days, but it might mean that you’re having a hard time getting your kids to sleep in the evening.

You probably know that adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. But how much sleep do kids need?

  • Infants (birth to 12 months old) – 10 ½ to 18 hours (total of nighttime and naps)
  • Toddlers (1 to 3 years old) – 12 to 14 hours (total of nighttime and naps)
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old) – 11 to 13 hours
  • School-age kids (6 to 12 years old) – 10 to 11 hours
  • Teens (13 to 18 years old) – 9 to 9 ½  hours

Here’s a helpful sleep checklist:

  • Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Kids with bedtimes before 10 p.m. are much more likely to get enough sleep than kids with later bedtimes. If necessary, the schedule can be adjusted at a gradual pace (about 15 minutes every two days) to ease the transition.
  • Be consistent with your children’s sleep schedules, even on the weekends. Emphasize activity and bright light in the morning; these help to train the brain to be wide awake in the morning. Whenever possible, send them outside to play, rather than allowing them to sit watching TV and eating snacks – it’s better for their brain and their body!
  • Establish a relaxing evening routine. Avoid exercising or stimulating activities in the last few hours before bedtime.
  • Create a sleep environment that is cool, dark, quiet and comfortable.
  • Limit caffeine, especially after lunch.
  • Avoid having a TV or computer in the bedroom and turn them off at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.

Make sleep a priority for yourself and your family.

Megan Grekowicz, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC- Megan Grekowicz, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, pediatric nurse practitioner, Sleep Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

The Sleep Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the only sleep center in the state dedicated solely to the care of children and teens. The center has two locations (Milwaukee and New Berlin) both accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and staffed by four board-certified pediatric sleep specialists.

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