As your baby grows, so do your list of questions. You may think that worrying about your little one stops after the newborn phase, but new challenges arise as they become toddlers. Parents are often ecstatic when their kid starts sleeping through the night. But this feeling of success is short lived as they start to ponder if their child is sleeping enough. How long they need to sleep, when they should be going to bed and how to make it happen. If you’re one of these parents, then this article is for you. Here’s everything you need to know about toddler sleep so that your tiny tot can spend some quality time in dreamland every night. Read on to know more!
How Much Sleep Does Your Toddler Really Need?
Before starting to calculate what time you need to send your kid to bed, you need to first figure out how much sleep your child needs. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, toddlers require about 10 to 14 hours of sleep each night, and this includes naps (1). So, if your toddler is prone to taking a nice long nap in the afternoon, pencil that in. however, take care that your child does sleep enough because not resting well at this stage could lead to adverse effects. A lack of sleep can cause problems with attention, behavior, and learning for your child.
One study done in 2018 by the University of British Columbia found that kids who didn’t sleep enough on a regular basis were more likely to have problems at school. And they developed more slowly than their peers who were getting an adequate amount of sleep (2). You have to keep in mind that sleep is how our brain gets rejuvenated in order to save all the information we learn that day. And since every day is a huge learning experience for your toddler, it is integral that they sleep well. This way they will be able to retain information better and wake up refreshed.
What Is The Ideal Toddler Sleep Schedule?
Life would be a lot easier if we could link all our toddlers into a universal sleep schedule but kids don’t work that way. It is going to take a lot of trial and error to figure out a good sleep routine that works for your child. And most of this will depend on your family’s lifestyle. For example, if your family is pretty active and spends time running around with the kid every day, that child is going to need more sleep. Don’t make the mistake of making your toddlers skip naps. They may need them to rest and recuperate during the day. And the last thing you want to do is deal with an overtired grumpy toddler. Ensuring that your child is well rested means that they will be more willing to follow instructions, manage their emotions and go to bed when asked at night.
It’s okay if your child’s naps range anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half initially. Of course, it would be unreasonable to expect your kid to go to sleep at 6:30 pm if they take longer afternoon naps, but every child is different. With a little bit of luck, your toddler may pass out as soon as they hit the pillow at night. Your schedule as a parent also influences your child’s ideal bedtime. If you are prone to staying up late and eating dinner late into the night, your baby will stay up with you as well. You may want to look into doing dinner time a little early. This way your child will get enough sleep to be able to wake up early for their drop off at the daycare the next morning.
The important factor to consider is not what time your baby is going to sleep but if they are getting enough sleep and how it affects their day and yours. A toddler that goes to bed at 9 p.m. and wakes at 8 a.m. is no worse off than the toddler that goes to bed at 7 p.m. and sleeps until 7 a.m. of course. You don’t want to set yourself up for utter disaster by sending your toddler to bed at 11pm, but their quality of sleep, at a reasonable time in the night is what matters. If your baby is having trouble falling asleep, soothe them by singing a lullaby, reading them a bedtime story or stay with them until they fall asleep.
Having an energetic toddler is wonderful, until you realize that they need to calm down and go to sleep. Instead of constantly wondering if they are exhausted, make sure that they get in a good nap during the day and then form a realistic night routine for them. Your kids will be well rested and ready for the next day!