Are you struggling with your child’s sleep? Have you ever wondered how much sleep your child needs and when? Should they sleep on a schedule or based on how long they have been awake? The answer is – this depends on their age and how quickly they transition through sleep milestones.
What Is Healthy Sleep?
Healthy sleep is like a puzzle. You need all of the pieces for it to come together. A sleep schedule is a large part of that puzzle. I know that you have heard or read differing opinions on this, but here’s the deal: after 4 months of age a set sleep schedule at the right times of day is very important.
The balance of a sleep schedule and amount of sleep plays along with the other components of healthy sleep to help create the full sleep puzzle:
- A safe sleep environment
- sleep conducive sleep environment
- An age appropriate sleep schedule
- A bedtime routine (good for both babies and toddlers)
- An early bedtime
- An independent sleeper
The Sleep Schedule
After your baby reaches 4 months of age it is important to honor their newly developed internal biological clock and get them on a schedule. They will get more restorative sleep at specific times of the day. And, if you can balance that with the right amount of sleep, you are well on the road to a great sleeper.
Before we go on, I’m just gonna say it: You’re going to want to save this post and refer back to it as your child gets older. This will be a post that will be useful for you for years, especially if you have a newborn. I will break this sleep schedule thing down for you by age.
You may already know that our baby’s and toddler’s sleep needs change so much in the first 5 years! We go from 4 naps to 3, then 3 naps to 2, then 2 naps to 1 and then finally none. But then there’s also the question: how much sleep do they need at night? Let me tell you, they likely need more sleep than you thought!
As an example, an 8 month old will need 2 consolidated (1.5 – 2 hour) naps per day with about 12 hours of sleep at night. While a 2 year old will need 1 consolidated nap with 11-12 hours of sleep at night. It’s more sleep than you thought right?
But how do you know when to make transitions to fewer naps or a later bedtime? This is what I am here to help with. Are you ready?
So here we go:
Healthy Sleep Is Possible
I am here to assure you that healthy sleep is possible for your babies and toddlers! Sleeping through the night is possible. Taking great naps is possible! Even having your toddler ask to go to bed is possible (I know you may not believe me on this one, but it can happen). There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are honoring your child’s schedule and sleep is not coming together, there may be another piece of the puzzle missing. Also, each child can be a little different in their sleep needs. My oldest has always needed more sleep than the youngest. Taking into account, each child and their individuality is helpful too.
The better that we can honor our little ones sleep, the better that they will sleep.