Children who get enough sleep are less likely to be moody or have behavior problems. They often develop better memory, concentration, and longer attention spans. With plenty of sleep, they may also recover from illness faster.
While children may seem anything but sleepy at bedtime, they still may be. Their bouncing around the room behavior may be masking sleep deprivation. How much is enough sleep? Sleep patterns vary, based on the age of the child.
Infants (up to 1 year of age):
Toddlers (ages 1 to 2):
Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5)
Many children up through the middle elementary school years ask to sleep with their parents. If this occurs only once in a while it may not be a problem. Sleeping with parents is not harmful if the parents are comfortable with this. However, most American parents are not comfortable with it. In American culture sleeping with parents does not encourage the independence expected of children. Also sleeping with parents may lower self-esteem as the child realizes other children their age sleep alone. For children age 2 and older it is usually best to calmly insist that they sleep in their own bed. They may cry or fuss for several nights before being OK with this. Be concerned about their distress, but do not give in by letting them into your bed.
School-aged children (ages 6 to 12)
Adolescents (ages 13 to 17)
Some children may seem anything but sleepy at bedtime. However, their "bouncing around the room" behavior may actually be caused by lack of sleep. To help your child sleep:
Every child is different and some need more sleep than others. If your child seems tired during the day, moody, or "hyper," he or she may not be getting enough sleep.
Most sleep problems with children can be corrected by adjustments to the child's bedtime routine or parent expectations of what is "normal" for their child. Some sleep problems, however, are true disorders which need special attention, and sometimes treatment by a healthcare professional.