How much sleep do your children need?
A Sussex headteacher has recently written an open letter to parents, advising that they put their children to bed earlier – but how much sleep do they really need?
Suzanne Morgan, headteacher in a Sussex primary school, believes children need to be getting more sleep so they are refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Her letter has sparked debate amongst parents about the amount of sleep their children should be getting.
Sleep is incredibly important for all of us, but it is especially important for children as it directly impacts their physical and mental development. Below are the current recommended guidelines for children aged 1-18.
One to two years old: 14 hours a day
This will most likely take form in a two-hour nap after lunch followed by a 12-hour sleep from around 7pm to 7am.
Three to six years old: 12 hours a day
Around this age is when the post-lunch nap should be eradicated. The focus should now be on a restful 12-hour sleep at night. It can be common for children at this age to resist bedtime, keen to stay up late with mum and dad. If this happens try to keep to a sleep schedule and stick to a routine.
Seven to 12 years old: 10 to 11 hours a day
By now your children will be even more resistant to bed time – clutching onto their latest piece of technology or computer game. As before, try to stick to a routine and remember, you probably read books under the covers with a torch when you were their age too.
12 to 18 years old: eight to nine hours a day
Hard to believe the amount of sleep needed declines here – when most teenagers appear more ‘zombie-like’ than ever. This can be due to their hormones or simply because of a late night. Try to encourage a reasonable bedtime and wake-up time to avoid them upsetting their internal body clock.
Raising children isn’t an exact science and there is rarely a definitive answer. If you feel you could use some parenting guidance, speaking to a life coach could help you build your confidence. For more information, please see our Parenting page.
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