How Much Sleep Do Toddlers Need?

As your child passes her 1st birthday, sleep continues to be the primary brain activity. By 2 years of age, the average child has spent 9,500 hours about 13 months of her life asleep versus 8,000 hours awake. Between 2 and 5 years of age, the amounts of sleep and awake time become about the same.

So, how much should sleep toddlers really need?

From 1-5 years of age, kids should sleep 12-14 hours a day, counting naps and nights. (You can expect your 2-year-old to nap about 2 hours a day and your 3-year-old to nap 1 hour a day.)

Toddlers Are Sleeping Less

In a worrying trend, toddler sleep has dropped by 3-40 minutes per night over recent years. It appears that morning wake time has stayed the same, but bedtime has shifted later and later. Most toddlers wake around 7:30 a.m. and go to bed around 9 p.m. (give or take 30 minutes).

According to the 2004 Sleep in America poll, almost half of toddlers and one-third of preschoolers call out for help some nights (5-10% do it more than once a night). Most parents (about 60%) return to the bedroom to give reassurance…usually staying 15 minutes until their little sweetie is back asleep. And it usually takes parents at least another 15 minutes to turn off their minds and fall back to sleep.

Night waking may be caused by the problems you’ve wrestled with before, like teething, growth spurts, or your child’s dependency on “hands on” sleep cues like rocking or nursing.

But new sleep struggles can emerge for your toddler. Her busy mind can become infested with worries and fears or her sleep may be jolted by night terrors or sleep apnea or even pinworms.

There is no one best approach to respond to night wakings in toddlers. I offer guidance on this website on some of the individual topics mentioned in the previous paragraphs (just click on the links to go to my articles). And also, you can read my holistic recommendations for parenting toddlers and developing healthy sleep habits in The Happiest Toddler on the Block and The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep.

Read more: happiestbaby.com

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