• How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?

    Posted by Litonya Gant on 12/13/2021

    Sleep is of paramount importance to young children. Early in life, a person experiences tremendous development1 that affects the brain, body, emotions, and behavior and sets the stage for their continued growth through childhood and adolescence.

    In light of this, it’s normal for parents to want to make sure that their children, whether babies or young kids, get the sleep that they need. After convening a panel of experts to review the existing research, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) formulated recommendations for total daily sleep needs by age2.

      Age Range Recommended Hours of Sleep
    Newborn 0-3 months old 14-17 hours
    Infant 4-11 months old 12-15 hours
    Toddler 1-2 years old 11-14 hours
    Preschool 3-5 years old 10-13 hours
    School-age 6-13 years old 9-11 hours

    These ranges are for total sleep including at night and during naps. The NSF’s experts noted that these are broad recommendations and that an hour more or less may be appropriate for some children. Parents can benefit from using these guidelines as a target while recognizing that a healthy amount of sleep may vary3 among children or from day to day.

    As these recommendations demonstrate, sleep needs evolve as a child gets older. An array of factors can influence the proper amount of sleep for babies and kids, and knowing these details can serve parents who want to encourage healthy sleep for their children.

    How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

    Babies spend the majority of their day sleeping. The normal amount of time that babies sleep depends on their age.

    Newborns (0-3 Months Old)

    The NSF recommends that newborns spend between 14 and 17 hours sleeping every day. Because of the need for feeding, this sleep is usually broken up into a number of shorter periods.

    While the bulk of total sleep happens at night, it’s rare for newborns to sleep through the night without waking up. To accommodate feeding, nighttime sleep segments, and daytime naps, parents often work to develop a rough structure or schedule for a newborn’s day.

    Parents should be aware that fluctuations in sleep patterns for newborns can occur and do not necessarily indicate a sleeping problem. For this reason, the American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have chosen not to list a recommended amount of sleep4 for babies under 4 months old.

    Infants (4-11 Months Old)

    Guidelines from the NSF state that infants (4-11 months old) should get between 12 and 15 hours of sleep per day. AASM and AAP guidelines, which recommend 12-16 total hours, closely track those of the NSF. It is normal for infants to sleep for 3-4 hours during the day.

    Why Do Babies Sleep so Much?

    Babies spend more than half of their time sleeping because this is a period of substantial growth. Sleep allows the brain to develop5, building networks and engaging in activity that facilitates thinking and learning as well as the formation of behavior. Sleep and nutrition also allow a baby to develop physically, growing bigger and acquiring better motor skills. 


    Is It Normal For Babies To Take Naps?

    It is very common for babies to nap and obtain a meaningful portion of their total sleep during the day. Newborns often nap for at least 3-4 hours during the day, and though total nap time decreases as they get older6, it’s typically for infants to continue to nap for 2-3 hours or more each day.

    This napping is not just normal but also beneficial. Research has found that frequent naps allow infants to consolidate specific memories. In addition, naps enable a more generalized memory that is important for learning and brain development.

    When Do Babies Start to Sleep Through the Night?

    For adults used to sleeping for 7-9 hours each night without interruption, having a baby can be an eye-opening experience. Even though newborns and infants spend most of their time asleep, they rarely sleep through the night without waking up.

    In general, it is thought that babies start to consolidate their nightly sleeping period at around six months7, making it more likely for them to sleep through the night. At the same time, research has found that the date of this milestone can vary significantly. In one study, a considerable number of six- and twelve-month-old babies did not sleep either six or eight hours consecutively8 at night:

    Age Percent Not Sleeping 6+ Hours Consecutively at Night Percent Not Sleeping 8+ Hours Consecutively at Night
    6 months 37.6% 57.0%
    12 months 27.9% 43.4%

    While parents often worry if their child takes longer to start sleeping through the night, this same study found that there were no detectable impacts on a child’s physical or mental development if they weren’t able to sleep for these longer consecutive periods as an infant.

    Over time, parents should expect their child to start sleeping for longer segments at night, but to date, the importance of sleeping through the night has not been shown to be more important for infants than total daily sleep time.

    That said, there are steps that parents can take to encourage longer periods of consecutive sleep at night, and any concerns about frequent nighttime awakenings should be discussed with the pediatrician most familiar with the baby’s specific situation.

    How Much Sleep Do Premature Babies Need?

    Babies that are born prematurely often need even more sleep than babies born at full term. It is not uncommon for premature babies to spend around 90% of their time asleep9. The exact amount that a preterm newborn will sleep can depend on how premature they were born and their overall health.

    Over the course of the first 12 months, preemies’ sleep patterns come to resemble those of full-term infants10, but in the meantime, they often have more total sleep, lighter sleep, and less consistent sleep overall.

    How Does Feeding Affect Sleep for Babies?

    There is some debate about how and whether the method of feeding affects a baby’s sleep. While some research has found more nighttime awakenings11 in babies who are breastfed, other studies12 have found little difference13 between sleep patterns of breastfed and formula-fed babies.

    Overall, because of documented health benefits apart from sleep, the AAP recommends14 exclusively breastfeeding for six months and then continuing with complementary breastfeeding for a year or more. Although not firmly established, there is some evidence15 that babies who are breastfed may have better sleep during their preschool years.

    What Can You Do if Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Enough?

    Parents who have concerns about their baby’s sleep should start by speaking with a pediatrician. Keeping a sleep diary to track your child’s sleep patterns may help the doctor determine if your baby’s sleep has a normal pattern or may reflect a potential sleeping problem.

    For babies who struggle to sleep through the night, behavioral changes may encourage longer sleep sessions. For example, reducing the speed of response to awakenings may encourage self-soothing, and gradually pushing back bedtime may create more sleepiness that helps a baby stay asleep longer.

    It may also be beneficial to improve sleep hygiene by creating a consistent sleep schedule and routine16 and ensuring that the baby has a calm and quiet environment for sleep. Infant sleep hygiene should also account for important safety measures17 to prevent the risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

    How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

    The amount of sleep that kids should get changes significantly as they get older. As they move from toddlers to school age, their sleep becomes increasingly similar to that of adults18.

    In this process, the sleep requirements for young children decline, and that is reflected primarily in a decreased amount of time spent napping during the day.

    Even though kids sleep for fewer hours than babies, sleep remains critical to their overall health19 and development. Lack of sufficient sleep at a young age has been correlated with problems with weight, mental health, behavior, and cognitive performance.

    Toddlers (1-2 Years Old)

    It is recommended that toddlers get between 11 and 14 hours of total sleep every day. Their napping decreases compared to infants and frequently accounts for around 1-2 hours of daily sleep. Two naps per day is normal at the start of this period, but it’s not uncommon for older toddlers to take only an afternoon nap.

    Preschool (3-5 Years Old)

    Preschool-aged children who are 3-5 years old should get around 10-13 total hours of sleep per day according to NSF and AASM guidelines. During this time, naps may get shorter, or a preschooler may stop napping20 on a regular basis.

    School-Age (6-13 Years Old)

    The NSF advises that school-age children should sleep for a total of 9-11 hours every day. The AASM extends the top part of the range to 12 hours.

    As school-age includes a wider set of ages, the individual needs of any given child in this group can vary significantly. Younger school-age children typically need more sleep than those who are in middle school or approaching high school.

    When children in school-age years start to go through puberty and enter adolescence, their sleep patterns change markedly and can give rise to distinct challenges that confront teens and sleep.

    Is It Normal For Kids To Take Naps?

    For many kids, it is normal to take naps, especially when they are toddlers and preschool-aged. During these years, napping may continue to confer benefits for memory and thinking.

    It is normal for napping to slowly phase out during early childhood21 with naps becoming both shorter and less frequent. This may occur naturally or as a result of schedules for school or child care.

    Although many children stop napping by around age five, it’s important to remember that nap preferences can be different for every child. In preschools with scheduled nap time, some children sleep easily, but others — up to 42.5% in one study22 — fall asleep only sometimes or not at all.

    Some older children may still be inclined to nap and can benefit from doing so. In a study in China23, where it is often more culturally appropriate to nap, children in grades 4-6 who took frequent naps after lunch showed signs of better behavior, academic achievement, and overall happiness.

    The existing research about napping and optimal timing of sleep episodes is inconclusive and acknowledges that what’s best for one child can change over time and may not be what’s best for another child of the same age. For this reason, parents, teachers, and child care workers may be able to best encourage optimal sleep for kids by being flexible and understanding about naps.

    What Can You Do if Your Child Doesn’t Sleep Enough?

    It is estimated that 25% of young children24 deal with sleeping problems or excessive daytime sleepiness, and these issues can affect older children and teens as well. While the nature of sleeping challenges vary, parents should talk with their children about sleep and raise the issue with their pediatrician if there are signs of severe or persistent problems, including insomnia.

    Helping children sleep often starts with creating a bedroom environment that is peaceful, quiet, and comfortable. Having an appropriate mattress and minimizing distractions, such as from TV or other electronic devices, can make it easier for children of any age to get consistent sleep.

    Establishing healthy sleep habits, including a stable sleep schedule and pre-bed routine, can reinforce the importance of bedtime and cut down on night-to-night variability in sleep. Giving children an opportunity to use up their energy during the day and to unwind before bedtime can make it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.


    For more information, check out the following source provided: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/how-much-sleep-do-kids-need

    Comments (-1)
  • Bedtime Routines for Children

    Posted by Litonya Gant on 12/1/2021

    Getting quality sleep is essential in childhood, yet research shows that as many as 20 to 30%1 of babies and toddlers have trouble sleeping. If you’re the parent or caregiver of a young insomniac, you’ll know firsthand how frustrating it is to see your little one struggle with bedtime.
    One of the easiest ways to set your child up for good sleep is by creating a bedtime routine. The good news is that it only takes a few nights2 of following a bedtime routine to see improvements in your child’s sleep.

    What Is a Bedtime Routine, and What Are the Benefits?

    Bedtime routines are a consistent, repetitive set of activities that are carried out before bed every night. They help prepare your child for sleep by having them relax and wind down. A predictable routine also gives your child a sense of security and teaches them how to fall asleep on their own.

    Research shows that children who follow bedtime routines are more likely to go to sleep earlier, take less time falling asleep, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night. These benefits to sleep quality are still seen years later3 in children who followed bedtime routines when they were younger.

    In addition to improving sleep, bedtime routines teach your child self-care and lay the ground for working memory, attention, and other cognitive skills4. They also foster parent-child bonding and may help improve mood, stress levels, and behavior.

    In the long term, these benefits translate to better readiness for school, as well as better academic performance and social skills. By contrast, those who don’t follow a bedtime routine in childhood are more likely to have sleep problems and be overweight during adolescence5.

    Setting a bedtime routine right from the beginning with your baby makes it easier to keep up healthy habits as your child grows.

    How To Build a Bedtime Routine for Kids

    A bedtime routine for kids usually consists of three or four activities, for example, having a snack, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and reading a book. These should always be done in the same order. To make the routine even more effective, start winding down the household by dimming the lights and turning off screens in the lead-up to bed.

    Typical bedtime activities that have been shown to have beneficial effects6 on sleep include:

    • Nutritious snack or bottle/breastfeeding
    • Bath or diaper change
    • Brushing teeth and going to the bathroom
    • Reading a book
    • Lullaby or singing a song together
    • Massage, cuddling, and rocking
    • Talking about their day

    The bedtime routine should culminate in a goodnight kiss and lights-out7. You should leave the room while your child is sleepy but not asleep yet. This way they learn to fall asleep on their own, and they won’t panic if they wake up in the middle of the night and find you gone. Set a consistent bedtime that leaves enough time for your child to sleep the recommended amount of hours for their age. 


    Bedtime Dos and Don’ts

    Certain activities are counterproductive to sleep and may cause your child to form unhealthy habits. Of course, every child is different and you may find it takes some trial-and-error to find out what works best for your family. However, when crafting your child’s bedtime routine, try to stick to the following advice:


    • Do it every day: A nighttime routine for kids should consist of the same steps every night8, or as many nights as possible9. To get all the benefits, it’s important for both parents10 to participate in the bedtime routine where possible.
    • Keep it short and sweet: For most children, a bedtime routine should last around half an hour, or a little longer if there’s a bath included. Prolonging the routine can delay bedtime and makes it harder to implement on days when you’re short on time.
    • Keep it up during the day: Following a routine during the day, including setting clear limits, leads to increased sleep duration11 for young children. Getting lots of exercise, sunlight, and outdoor time during the day can also help them sleep better at night.
    • Listen to your child: Although you’re ultimately in charge, it’s not a bad thing to leave your child some liberty. If a part of the bedtime routine isn’t working for your child, listen to their concerns and adapt the routine if necessary.
    • Follow sleep hygiene rules: Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet to promote sleep. If your child is scared of the dark, you can use a dim nightlight. Even after bedtime, noise levels in the rest of the house can keep young children awake12, so try to transition to quieter activities once you’ve tucked the kids in.
    • Make gradual changes: Try not to introduce more than one change at a time to the bedtime routine, and consider delaying these if there are other changes going on, such as moving to a new house or starting school. As your child’s sleep needs change, shift bedtime by 15-minute increments each night.


    • Start when they’re already sleepy: Overtired children can be hyperactive or grumpy and will find it even harder to fall asleep, so try to start the routine before they start yawning.
    • Let them use screens: The blue light from television and other electronic devices has serious consequences for sleep if used too close to bedtime.
    • Let them run around: Your child should have plenty of opportunities to burn off steam during the day, but don’t let them work themselves into a frenzy at night or they’ll be too wired to sleep.
    • Give sugary treats or caffeine: Try to keep evening snacks light and healthy. Caffeine will keep kids awake, and sugary treats before bed can lead to cavities13. Breakfast cereals, chocolate, and pudding can be sources of caffeine you may not expect. If your baby is bottle-feeding, remove the bottle before they fall asleep.
    • Read scary bedtime stories: Avoid scary stories and other mentally or physically stimulating activities before bed.
    • Let them sleep in on weekends: It’s tempting to catch up on sleep on non-schooldays, but straying more than an hour from the usual wake-up time can actually cause trouble falling asleep on weekdays14.

    Bedtime Tips for Toddlers, Kids, and Teens

    It’s natural to adapt bedtime routines as your child grows15.

    In early childhood, many toddlers are gripped by the throes of separation anxiety. This is a good time to introduce a stuffed animal or comfort blanket for extra reassurance when you leave the room.

    Toddlers will also try to assert their newly found independence by acting out or resisting bedtime. You can head off their stalling tactics by letting them make some of their own decisions, such as what pajamas to wear or which book to read. You may need to exert some creativity to make the bedtime routine more fun. When it’s time for lights-out, calmly and firmly bid them goodnight, and leave the room.

    Once children hit school age, they’re ready to take on more responsibility. Encourage them to take an active part in the bedtime routine by brushing their own teeth and tidying up their bedroom before bed.

    Teens have a better idea of what their bodies need, so you can give them more freedom over how they prepare for bed. That said, try to reign in weekend sleep-ins so they don’t throw their bodies out of sync by the time Monday morning rolls around.

    Source: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/bedtime-routine

    Comments (-1)
  • Connecting Home and School

    Posted by Litonya Gant on 11/1/2021

    As a parent, you are the major provider of your child's education from birth through adolescence. You guide the development of her character and mental health and help form the foundation from which she'll develop lifelong attitudes and interests. And because your home is the primary environment in which your child's potential and personality will take shape, it's important to make sure that you create a positive, open atmosphere that will not only support what goes on in the classroom but will also instill the desire to learn.

    It is through your love and encouragement that your kids will become motivated — first to please you, and then to please themselves. This leads to self-confidence, curiosity, the enjoyment of mastering new tasks, and other healthy attitudes, all of which contribute to successful learning.

    But unless you are home-schooling, you will not be the one teaching your child science or geography. And while it's true that all of the facts, skills, and concepts your children learn at school are influenced by what you do at home, your child's education is equally impacted by the relationships you form with her teachers. Building an effective relationship with the teacher is a critical task, and, like you, every teacher wants to achieve this goal. As with any relationship, mutual respect, the ability to listen, and lots of communication form the foundation.

    When parents and teachers work well together, everyone benefits. Parents and teachers can provide each other with unique insight and different perspectives about the same child, culminating in a more complete understanding of that child, her abilities, strengths, and challenges. The teacher will know much more about the curriculum and the school culture, while you know more about your child's personality, tendencies, and family life. A successful parent-teacher partnership also shows a child that an entire team of adults is on her side.

    Why What You Do at Home Is So Important at School
    A positive relationship with your child is more important to her school career than your constant presence in the classroom. Because young children identify strongly with you, your attitudes, values, and innermost feelings are contagious. They become embedded in your child's mind at the deepest levels.

    If your own experience with school was miserable, you might feel anxious about your child's school experiences. Your child will sense this, and it could hamper her ability to throw herself wholeheartedly into learning. She may feel disloyal if she allows herself to like school and work hard, even if your words are telling her to do so.

    For your child's sake you'll need to put the past behind you and "start over," assuming that your child's teachers, school, and overall experience will be good and happy. Even if you didn't like school, the best way to help your child is to endorse her experience: Get involved, be positive, and trust her teachers. She will get the message: "School is important; I want you to engage fully."

    Make Quality Time for Your Child
    It might sound obvious, but today, parents' schedules are full to overflowing. The good news is that there are easy ways to enjoy time with your child that also support learning. You can be available during play dates, snuggle on the sofa while watching a good video together, take a nature walk in the park, make appreciative comments from time to time as your child plays, cook something yummy together, or just hang out and chat. All these things support your child's deep belief that you know her, care about her, and would never expect her to do something that isn't possible — such as learn in school.

    Become an Active Partner in Learning
    Most educators believe in parent participation in children's education, but "participation" means different things to different teachers. To some, it might mean helping children with homework, returning notes and sending things in on time, and coming to a conference when notified to do so. But it should mean much more. Work with the teacher to find out some ways you can contribute to the classroom, but always be sure to do it within the guidelines she'll provide for you. By the same token, you have valuable insight about your child — no one knows her better than you — so it's important to take initiative and communicate that knowledge to the teacher throughout the school year.

    First, be sure to provide details about your child's home life to your teacher. The most effective teachers have a fairly complete understanding of each child in their class. You can help by telling her about your child's family life, including any recent changes (divorce, a death in the family, or illness, for example), important traditions or rituals, languages spoken at home, and other significant details unique to your child.

    Ask about ways to share your culture — food, music, photos, and traditions — with the class. Not only will this help strengthen your child's self-esteem, it will also enrich the learning experience for the entire class and foster an appreciation of diversity. Between the ages of 3 and 8, kids are beginning to deal with a world bigger than the family, and they become keenly aware of every difference between themselves and their peers.

    Plan to have a family discussion each week. Try to pick a topic that emerges from your child's experiences at school. The more you familiarize yourself with the daily routines and activities at preschool, the more you'll be able to encourage this type of conversation. You can even extend the idea into an art project or create a family "book club" where everyone reads something relating to this theme.

    Get the entire family involved. As often as possible, try to participate in field trips and classroom events such as potlucks, story parties, art shows, and class celebrations. Include grandparents, siblings, caregivers, and family friends. Your child will be delighted.

    For parents and teachers alike, the goal is to play active roles in your child's life and to work towards forming a real bond. The child's best interest is always served when she has lots of people rooting for her and all the pieces of her life fit together. A strong home-school connection will set the stage for a child who will grow up with a love for learning.


    Resource information: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/school-success/school-involvement/connecting-home-and-school.html

    Comments (-1)
  • 12 activities to keep your kids’ minds and bodies moving

    Posted by Litonya Gant on 10/1/2021

    Here are some ideas for fun, and educational, games to keep kids busy, whether inside or out. 

    Math activities

    Instead of worksheets, build numeracy skills through play. Here are some fun ideas to work on addition, subtraction, fractions, mental math, shapes, time, money, geometry, multiplication, counting, patterning, and estimating.

    Shape Hunt
    Kids (and adults!) love a good scavenger hunt. Put a twist on the search by having kids find items of certain shapes. When all objects have been collected, kids can then trace and color in the items on a separate sheet of paper.  If the objects are items that can’t be picked up, such as a clock on a wall, let kids use your smartphone to take a photo of the item.

    Print out or draw a sheet with shapes and let the hunt begin.

    For the youngest in the household, have them find objects that are of simple shapes such as circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. Challenge older kids with searches for items in the shape of parallelograms, ovals, rhombuses, or scalene triangles.

    This is a great game that can be played inside or out. 

    Math skills used: geometry


    Roll to Win
    Have your child toss two dice and add up the numbers that are rolled. Write down the total on a piece of paper. Reroll and keep adding up the numbers until you reach 100 (or a smaller number for younger kids).

    Math skills used: addition

    Time My Move
    Choose a move and see how long your child can perform it while another uses a timer to measure. How long can they balance on one foot?  How long will it take to run up a hill? How long can they keep up a balloon?

    Math skills used: time

    Literacy activities

    While reading is always encouraged, literacy skills such as letter recognition, writing, reading and following directions, vocabulary-building, retelling a story, letter-sound relationship, rhyming, and communication can all be practiced during active play.

    Treasure Hunt
    Hide an item somewhere inside or out and write clues for your little pirates to find the loot. Maybe they need to crawl across the couch, slide like a snail under a bed, reach behind a stool, or, if they’re outside, run to the pine tree, jump off a tree stump, dig into a hole, etc.  Each clue can have words for older kids and pictures for younger ones.

    Literacy skills used: reading and following directions

    Freeze Dance Rhyme Dance
    Crank the tunes and let the dancing begin. Unlike the regular game though, when the music stops, a designated person calls out a word. If the other dancer(s) can’t respond with a word to rhyme with it within a designated time period (say five to 10 seconds), that person is out.

    Literacy skills used: rhyming

    Lights, Camera, Action!
    Kids will need some downtime during their time away from school and odds are good that they’ll watch a movie or read a book or two. Have your kids reenact the stories while using your smartphone or tablet. Props and costumes will make this activity extra fun!

    Literacy skills used: retelling a story

    Using a mix of easy and difficult words, have your kids act them out and see if their siblings or parents can guess what they are. If the kids don’t know the word they’re given, define it for them.

    Literacy skills used: vocabulary-building

    Science activities

    Find your best (little) lab coat and use games and activities to explore the various branches of science that kids love, including life cycles, seasons, planets, animals, magnets, weather, states of matter (liquid, solid, gas), volcanoes, engineering, anatomy, shadows, senses, and paleontology, and skills including problem-solving, observation, predicting, and classifying.

    Oh, The Places You’ll Go (and the things you’ll see!)
    Get online with your kids and find a park or trail near your home they’ve never been to before. Let them in on the decision-making and read about the types of trees, birds, or other particular features that can be found in that location. Bring along some water and snacks and set out to find all that you’ve read about. If you do find what you’re looking for, use your smartphone to take pictures home as a memory of the day. Take photos of other interesting birds, flowers, bugs, or trees. 

    Science examined: animals and habitations

    Erupting with Fun Volcanoes
    Volcanoes are truly a lava fun. (Sorry—couldn’t resist!) 

    Fill a plastic cup two-thirds of the way full with water and add five tablespoons of baking soda, one teaspoon of dish soap, and several drops of washable paint. Mix the materials together, put the cup on the ground, and form a mound of dirt or snow around the cup to just below its rim. Now comes the fun! Add one cup of vinegar and watch the lava erupt down the side of the mound. You can add vinegar a number of times until you need to add the base ingredients again.  

    Science skills used and branch of science examined: creating a chemical reaction and geology. 

    Balance Building
    Pick uneven or unstable objects such as cards, paper cups, or rocks, and challenge your kids to build as high as they can or in various shapes.  

    Science skills used: problem-solving 

    Static Fun
    Learning about positive and negative charges is pure fun when playing with a balloon. Have your child rub an inflated balloon against their hair and see what they can stick it on or pick up. Can it stick to a wall or pick up pieces of confetti or flakes of pepper? 


    Source: https://activeforlife.com/200-activities-you-can-do-with-kids-at-home/

    Comments (-1)


If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.