quality sleep developing children

Ensuring Quality Sleep for Developing Children

February 14, 2023
Ensuring Quality Sleep for Developing Children

There are several major elements that play a role in child development, and sleep is at or near the top of any such list. Children need more sleep than adults, especially in their youngest years, and both parents and educators will often play a significant role in ensuring that they get it. 

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we're happy to help with any kind of sleep-related needs you may have for your child, whether they're an infant, toddler, kindergartener or any other age. From basic areas like nap scheduling to several others, we'll help ensure your child gets adequate sleep that fuels their proper development in several areas. Let's dive into how sleep needs of children tend to change as they age from infant range on up, plus some tips on how parents can approach child sleep in healthy ways.

How Child Sleep Needs Typically Vary

While precise sleep needs will vary slightly between kids, there are some general sleep guidelines that many experts consider the norm. Generally, infants need the most sleep of any age group – often between 12-15 hours a day – while toddlers should get around 11-14 hours and preschoolers require 10-13 hours. School aged children need more like 9-11 hours, with teenagers requiring 8-10 hours per day.

What's important to understand is that these are all minimums, and while they may not be achievable every day, try to get as close as possible in the long run. It's also important to realize that kids need a certain amount of sleep in order to be healthy, both mentally and physically. Getting less than the minimum recommended hours can have a big impact on cognitive development, emotional health and physical growth.

Our next several sections will go over some simple ways parents can help their kids get adequate sleep.

Healthy Exercise Habits

One of the single areas that has the greatest impact on child sleep is exercise. Physical activity is important for overall health, but when done at the right time and in the right amounts, it can actually help promote better sleep as well.

Generally, physical activities should be done during the day so that kids have enough energy to last throughout the night, though this will vary depending on when they go to bed. However, generally, exercise should be done within three hours of bedtime; too close and it can make it harder to fall asleep.

Develop Healthy Sleep Routines

A good sleep routine is essential for helping kids get the right amount of rest. This education starts in infancy, when parents begin to establish a regular bedtime that they stick with day after day.

For older kids, try to keep a consistent schedule both in terms of when they go to sleep and when they wake up. That way, their body will naturally start to adjust itself so that it's ready for bed at the right time each night.

Naps and Child Care Coordination

Especially for younger children, naps are an important part of the day. At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we'll be sure to help your child get adequate rest during the day so they stay alert and focused while they're with us, and so that they're ready for bed when you come to pick them up.

In addition, we can coordinate our schedule with yours so that your child's sleep routine stays consistent, no matter where they are. It's important to reach out to us or any other child care professionals your child might encounter so that you can work together to ensure they get the rest they need.

A Peaceful Sleeping Environment

Whether at home or in a child care setting, it's important to create a peaceful and comfortable atmosphere that helps children drift off to sleep well.

At home, keep things calm in the hours before bedtime – no loud TV or running around – and make sure the room is cool, dark and quiet. You can even try to incorporate some relaxation techniques like reading or having your child take deep breaths to help them wind down before sleeping.

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, we also strive to create a calm atmosphere for sleep time. Our staff is trained in how to best promote healthy rest habits in children, and we use things like white noise machines, gentle music and low lighting to help kids relax before bed.

With the right knowledge and effort, parents can ensure that their kids get the rest they need for optimal development. By understanding how much sleep is necessary, creating healthy exercise routines and making sure to keep a consistent schedule, you'll be able to make sure your child gets enough restful sleep.

And if you ever have any questions or concerns about naps or any other area where we can help with child sleep habits, don't hesitate to contact us at First Steps Childcare & Preschool today. We're here to help with this and any other child care needs you may have!

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