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Find out when and for how long your child should sleep each day

  • Joanna Shtrosberg
Getting your baby's sleep schedule right will help them sleep better during the day and at night.

Many parents wonder how much sleep their child actually needs and when? And the answer is somewhat complicated. That’s because your baby or toddler’s sleep schedule will depend on a few factors. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that you can follow religiously – you need to watch your child and see what works best for them. Your child will signal to you in different ways that they are feeling tired so learning those signals will help you to understand their sleep needs better.

Why should I follow a sleep schedule?

Many parents question whether they even need a sleep schedule for their child. Will it will make life too rigid for parents who are constantly on the go with their baby in tow? In my opinion, a sleep schedule or routine provides your child with some much needed predictability, helping them to strengthen their internal body clock. Doing so will mean your child is better rested and will find it easier to fall asleep for their naps and at bedtime. Conversely, if your child has no routine whatsoever, they may be more likely to fight sleep and be less content and potentially more fractious when awake. I have set out a simple guide below with suggestions of approximately how long your child should sleep during the day and night based on their age.

How long should your child sleep for?

Children need to sleep for different lengths of time depending on their age
Please remember that this is a guide and some children will need slightly more or slightly less sleep.

When should I put my child to sleep?

Children have “awake windows” (also known as wake windows) which refer to how long they can happily stay awake in between their sleep periods. When determining your baby or toddler’s sleep schedule, it is vital to consider your child’s awake windows, in line with their age, to ensure that you put your child to sleep at the right time both during the day and at night.

Allow sufficient sleep pressure to build up before putting your child to sleep for a nap or at bedtime

Set a routine

Young babies will sleep better if you schedule their naps and bedtime at the right time.

Once you’ve worked out approximately how long your child should be sleeping for each day, how often they should be napping during the day and the length of their awake time before they need another sleep period, you can put together a simple sleep schedule for your baby. Remember that your routine doesn’t have to be super rigid! I use “flexible” routines in my sleep packages because I am fully aware that most parents can’t or don’t want to be stuck with strict time schedules.

Are you looking for help in getting your child into the perfect routine? Do you wish your child was well rested? Sleep Superstars provides sleep welfare packages tailored to your child and your family. Our packages include everything you need to know about getting your baby or toddler into the perfect flexible routine. We also created a unique Sleep Support Hub to help and guide you every step of the way. This includes great resources like a daytime and nighttime tracker that you can use to keep track of your baby’s sleep patterns. To find out more see here.

Joanna Shtrosberg
Joanna is a certified level 6 holistic sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Superstars. Her vision is to help parents navigate the challenges of parenthood by helping them and their children get the sleep they need. Before setting up Sleep Superstars, Joanna graduated from Cambridge University and the College of Law after which she practised in the legal profession for several years. She is also a mother to two young boys so fully understands the difficulties in balancing a career with family life.