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Sleepovers & Bedtime

How Much Sleep Should My Child Get?

When you ask how many hours of sleep a preschooler or kindergartener get, you're likely to get different answers from different people. Although, every child is different, and some children do just as well on eight hours of sleep while other children need ten or more, there are some basic guidelines to follow regarding sleep. Just like adults, a lack of sleep causes problems in children. Children who don't get enough sleep may be cranky, uncooperative, and hyper. Every child is different, use these parenting tips to determine how much sleep is right for your child.

Three-year-olds and Sleep

At this age, kids generally sleep between 10-13 hours. Your child is probably still napping during the day. If naptime is not going over as well as it used to, you should still schedule regular quiet time sessions. It's ok for your child not to nap if he seems to do ok without it, but kids still need some down time at this age.

Four-year-olds and Sleep

By this age, you've probably developed a sound bedtime routine. If you're still up in the air about how much sleep your child should be getting, most experts recommend 10-12 hours a night. Again, every child is different, so your child might do fine on ten hours while your neighbor's child who is the same age may need a full twelve hours. Keep track of how many hours your child sleeps undisturbed and this will help you gauge his sleep needs.

Five-year-olds and Sleep

School aged kids also need 10-12 hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep may contribute to learning problems and inattention, so make sure your child gets enough sleep. Develop a fun bedtime routine that includes bath time, story time/music, and lights out. A popular tactic for parents to use to get kids to sleep at night is to keep the child awake later than usual. The idea is that a very sleepy child will fall right to sleep. However, the reverse is usually true. Many young kids who are overtired actually have a harder time falling asleep. Developing and observing regular bedtimes is the best sleep strategy for kids and parents.