The Importance of Sleep for Child Development

The Importance of Sleep for Child Development

 

It is extremely important to meet children’s required sleeping needs to support their learning, growth and development. As children progress through their developmental stages, their sleeping requirements change too. We understand how important it is to get this right, so we have provided information on each developmental stage to ensure your child is getting the right amount of sleep.

Babies (0 – 3 months old)

Infants spend the first few months rapidly developing physically and mentally, and need to sleep 16 – 18 hours a day to support this growth. This age group requires the most sleep, usually sleeping in short bursts of up to 4 hours throughout the day and night. During this time, infants are in ‘active sleep’, a light sleep state involving fluttering eyelids, body movements and irregular breathing. This is completely normal, most babies waking up, wanting to be fed.

Pre-Toddlers (4 months – 11 months old)

It is recommended pre-toddlers sleep 14 – 15 hours each day. During this developmental stage, sleep enables pre-toddlers to repair and rejuvenate, boosting muscle mass, releasing growth hormones and maintaining a strong immune system, with sleep-deprived children more prone to colds. At this age you can start to follow a set sleeping pattern every night, letting your child get used to the consistency and predictability, helping with future sleeping habits.

Toddlers (1 year – 3 years old)                                                                 

On average toddlers require 12 – 14 hours sleep, sleeping through most of the night, with regular naps aiding in developing memory skills, which is linked to flexible learning skills. At this age, toddlers are very curious about everything and are keen to play, explore and discover new things. Your toddler might be walking, even running or climbing furniture, meaning they can get overtired easily, making it difficult to sleep properly for long periods of time, so it is important to create consistent bedtimes.

Pre-schoolers (4 – 6 years old) 

Sleep is foundational to the adaptive and cognitive functioning and important for school readiness during the preschool years. It is recommended that preschoolers sleep 11 – 13 hours a day to optimise academic development. A study found regular bedtimes were linked to phonological (sound structure) awareness, literacy, language and early math abilities in 4-year-old children. Sleep also facilitates the ability to complete difficult problem-solving tasks.

The team at Bonny Babes Child Care Centres understand that effective rest and sleep strategies are important factors in ensuring a child feels secure and safe in the child care environment. Find out more about our Rest/Sleep SID’s Policy in our Parent Handbook.

Please use this information as a guide only. No one knows your child like you do, and if you are concerned with their individual development, seek professional advice from your GP.