How much sleep your kid needs, and some tips to help

File photo.
File photo. Getty Images/Tamara Reynolds

WINNIPEG — Are your kids rested and ready for each day?

The American Association of Sleep Medicine has released some guidelines on how much sleep children from newborns to teens need:

  • 4-12 months: 12 to 16 hours, including naps.
  • 1-2 years: 11 to 14 hours, including naps.
  • 3-5 years: 10 to 13 hours, including naps.
  • 6-12 years: 9 to 12 hours.
  • 13-18 years: 8-10 hours.

The University of Manitoba’s Diana McMillan says more and more kids aren’t getting this recommended amount as our family lives get busier.

A quick way to change that – take the screens away before bedtime.

“It’s both the light and it’s also the engagement factor. If you’ve got beeping, engaging tablets to watch, you don’t unhook yourself from the world and relax,” she said.

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McMillan says for younger children, sticking to a bedtime routine is the best way to keep them on track. She says start by working backwards from when they need to get up each day.

“When do you really need to get them into bed? When do they need to have story time? When do they need to have bath time?” she said.

For teens, she says it might be more helpful to lay out the benefits of sleep in their terms, like it will make you perform better in sports and help you problem-solve better in school.

But she says one of the best things to do is set an example by prioritizing sleep in your own life. She says sometimes adults are bad for being boastful about how little sleep they are functioning on.

“Setting a good role model in terms of sleep is really important because kids really watch what we do. Our behaviours say an awful lot,” she said.