How Much Sleep Do your Children Need?

Nearly every parent knows the struggle of getting their child to bed. They’re “not tired” or need “just five more minutes.”

It’s likely you tried to stay up late when you were a kid, too. Now, you probably wish naps and an early bedtime were mandatory.

Sleep is vital for the health and well-being of all of us, but especially for children. As they grow and develop, their sleep needs change, and it is important to ensure that they are getting enough rest at each stage of their development. Here’s how much sleep your family needs at every age, and more importantly, why:

Newborns (0-3 months)

Newborns require a lot of sleep to support their rapid growth and development. They need 14-17 hours of sleep per day, but they typically do not sleep for more than two to four hours at a time. It is important for parents to establish a consistent sleep routine for their newborns to help them learn the difference between day and night. Newborns and infants should sleep on their backs in their own bassinet or cribs on a firm mattress without pillows or heavy blankets. 

Infants (4-11 months)

Infants continue to require a lot of sleep to support their growth and development. They need 12-15 hours per day, but they typically start to sleep for longer stretches at night. It is important for parents to maintain a consistent sleep routine for their infants and to make sure they are not overtired, as this can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep. Most infants should sleep through the night (6-8 hours) without waking by 6 months of age.

Toddlers (1-2 years)

Toddlers need 11-14 hours of sleep per day, including one nap. As they become more active and curious, toddlers may resist going to bed, but it is important for parents to enforce a regular bedtime routine to help them wind down and prepare for sleep. “Brush, Book, Bed” is a great way to structure your child’s bedtime routine.  This routine consists of brushing your child’s teeth, reading a book to your child, and then putting them to sleep.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Preschoolers need 10-13 hours of sleep per day, including one nap. Like toddlers, preschoolers may resist going to bed, but it’s still important they adhere to a regular schedule. Some children may drop their nap around 4 years of age, but their total sleep should remain the same.

School-aged children (6-12 years)

School-aged children need 9-12 hours of sleep. As they become more involved in school and extracurricular activities, it can become harder to balance sleep with new responsibilities. Parents can allow for some flexibility but should still set cut offs where electronics, schoolwork, etc. are put away.

Teenagers (13-18 years)

Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per day. As their bodies go through puberty, their sleep patterns may shift, and they may have difficulty falling asleep and waking up early for school. At this age, it becomes hardest to monitor your children’s sleep patterns. Encourage them to prioritize a healthy schedule and to not overcommit to extracurriculars, work, or social obligations. 

Why do children need so much sleep?

During sleep, the body produces growth hormones, which helps children grow and repair tissues. Sleep also plays a critical role in brain development and learning. Children who get enough sleep are more alert, attentive, and have better cognitive function, memory, and mood.

Not getting enough sleep can have serious consequences for children, including:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Behavioral problems
  • Mood disorders
  • Obesity
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Weakened immune system

It is important to observe your child for signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea such as snoring, gasping for air, extreme restless sleep, or extreme daytime sleepiness. If you observe these symptoms, please let you provider know. 

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AltaMed provides a complete host of pediatric services including age-appropriate immunizations and screenings, as well and information on developmental milestones. For information or to make an appointment call (888) 499-9303.

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Growing Healthy: The Services Your Child Needs at Every Stage of Life

As a parent, it can be challenging to keep track of all the developmental milestones your child should be hitting, or the immunizations and screenings they should receive. However, monitoring these aspects of your child's growth is essential to ensure their well-being.

That is why AltaMed is here. We are your community health care provider, and we know what your baby, toddler, adolescent, tween, and teen need when it comes to key health services.

Birth to two years

Your child will undergo rapid physical and cognitive development during the first two years of life. At birth, babies can typically move their arms and legs and turn their heads toward sounds and light. However, they are entirely dependent on their caregivers for all their needs.

By six months, babies start to sit up, roll over, and crawl. They can also understand simple commands and respond to their name. By 12 months, they can stand on their own and begin to take their first steps. They also start to develop their language skills, saying simple words such as "mama" and "dada."

Health Needs: Children at this age should receive several vaccines to protect them against preventable diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that infants receive vaccines for hepatitis B, rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal disease, and polio. Your pediatrician will also conduct regular checkups and developmental screenings to monitor your child's progress.

Two to five years

Your child's physical development will continue to progress rapidly, and their language and social skills will also develop at an increasing rate. They will become more independent and start to form strong bonds with family members and friends.

By age two, most children can run, climb stairs, and jump with both feet. They can also speak in simple sentences and understand basic concepts such as "more" and "mine." By age three, they can ride a tricycle, dress themselves, and use the toilet independently. They also start to play with other children and engage in imaginative play.

Health Needs: Your child will continue to receive vaccines, including those for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), chickenpox, and the flu. Your pediatrician will also conduct regular checkups and developmental screenings to monitor your child's progress.

Six to 12 years

Children continue to develop their cognitive and social skills, and their physical abilities will become more refined. They will start to form strong opinions and interests and develop a sense of their own identity.

By age six, most children can ride a bike, are able to learn to swim, and participate in organized sports. They can also read and write and understand basic math concepts. By 10, they can engage in complex social interactions, have a deeper understanding of abstract concepts, and develop critical thinking skills.

Health Needs: Your child will receive vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap), human papillomavirus (HPV), meningococcal disease, and the flu. Your pediatrician will also conduct regular checkups and developmental screenings to monitor your child's progress.

13 to 18 years

During this period, your child will undergo significant physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. They will become more independent and start to plan for their future.

By 14, most teenagers can engage in complex reasoning and have developed a sense of their own identity. They may also experience significant emotional changes, such as mood swings and increased stress. The part of their brain that allows them to make reasonable decisions has not formed yet, which explains a lot of why they do what they do. By 18, they are legally considered adults and are responsible for their own decisions.

It is important to continue monitoring their development during this period to ensure they remain healthy and receive necessary care. They should continue having regular checkups and developmental screenings with their pediatrician. These screenings can help identify any developmental delays or health concerns that may require further attention.

Health Needs: Necessary vaccines may include the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, meningococcal disease vaccine, and the flu vaccine.

As teenagers start to become more independent and make their own decisions, it is essential to encourage open communication and discuss the importance of preventive health care measures such as regular check-ups and vaccinations — like regular flu and COVID-19 shots. By doing so, you can help ensure that your child receives the necessary care to support their continued health and well-being.

With You from the Start

AltaMed provides a complete host of pediatric services, including age-appropriate immunizations and screenings. For information or to make an appointment call (888) 499-9303.

Children Playing Soccer

Avoiding and Treating Sports-Related Injuries

Summer is here and you want to make the most of your time in the sunshine. There are games to play, fun to have, and activities abound.

Kids and adults participate in different summer leagues, but there are also lots of opportunities for pickup sports — soccer, softball, basketball — and activities in general — hiking, swimming, and biking.

Stretch Before Starting

Just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean your body is warmed up for whatever activity you have in mind. You need to stretch your muscles before any activity if you’re not already a regular athlete. Stretching helps prevent muscle strains and sprains which can potentially sideline you, forcing you to miss big chunks of your summer.

Boy Playing Baseball

Get Equipped

Some activities require special safety equipment. Activities like baseball, softball, biking, and skateboarding should be done with helmets worn to protect your head. Mouthguards provide extra protection for baseball and skateboarding.

Shoes can be important for safety. Cleats for baseball, softball, soccer, or football will give you better traction and keep you from sliding around on the field. Wearing shoes with ankle support will help you playing basketball or volleyball. You also want to wear durable shoes or hiking boots if going on a walk over rugged terrain.

Be sure to wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Also, never swim alone; be sure there is a lifeguard on duty or go with a friend.

Rest, Recharge and Refuel

When you were a kid, it seemed like you could go all day, every day and never need a break. But even if you feel that way today, or your kids insist they can keep going, it’s good to work in time to rest.

You’re expending valuable energy regardless of the activity. Overdoing it can lead to a potential injury from overuse.

Make sure you refuel with a snack such as fruit. And be sure to drink plenty of water. Energy and sports drinks may be okay when you’re recovering from a workout, but nothing beats water when you’re in the middle of an activity. It will keep you from dehydrating and overheating.

Listen to Your Body

There is nothing wrong with taking a break from the action, especially if you’re starting to feel your muscles get tight, or you start feeling pain or swelling in your joints.

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know you might need to stop. Heed those warnings. Failure to do so could lead to a more serious injury that could require a trip to the doctor or the emergency room.

Baskeball Teacher

Treating Injury When It Occurs

Despite your best efforts, it’s likely you or someone close to you will end up bruised, scraped, sprained, or even with a concussion from playing sports. Here’s what you should do in each situation.

  • Bruising — The most common happens to soft tissue. It changes color, there’s some swelling, and it’s painful to touch. These take time to heal. Rest whenever possible. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time several times a day. Wrap the area to reduce swelling and elevate the bruised area above your heart.
  • Cuts and scrapes — Make sure whoever treats the area has clean hands to keep from spreading infection. Apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding. Clean the wound with running water and clean the area around the wound with soap. Apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to help prevent scarring then cover the wound with a bandage or clean gauze. Change the dressing daily and get a tetanus shot if the wound is deep or was dirty and it’s been at least five years since your last shot. See a doctor if you see redness, swelling, drainage or feel increased pain.
  • Sprains and strains — Sprains are injuries to tissue connecting bones. Strains are injuries to the muscle or the tissue connecting muscle to bone. Sprains are most common in your ankle, wrist, knee, or thumb. It’s important to ice the affected area, elevate it, and wrap it to reduce swelling. Most sprains take time. Severe sprains may require surgery if ligaments are torn.
  • Concussion — This is an injury to your brain that will require some rest. That means limiting video gaming, watching TV, texting, reading, homework, or using a computer. After 48 hours you can slowly increase your daily activities if they don’t cause any symptoms like dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, or nosebleeds. See a doctor if these conditions persist.

See Us with Any Questions

The experienced physicians and medical staff at AltaMed are familiar with sports injuries and know how to get you back on your feet and into the fun. It starts by developing a good relationship with your primary care physician. Call (888) 499-9303 for information or to make an appointment.

How Much Sleep Do your Children Need?