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ADHD and Sleep In Children

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Figure out how many zzz’s your little one needs.

As your child ages, the amount of sleep that he or she needs will naturally decrease slightly. Keep in mind, though, that sleep is very important for kids—since it impacts both their mental and physical development—so make sure that your little one is getting enough.

How Much Total Sleep Is Best?

As your child moves out of the infant stage, starts walking, and becomes a toddler, the total amount of sleep that he or she needs (nighttime sleep plus naptime sleep) will decrease from 12 to 15 hours per 24-hour day as a four- to 11-month-old to 11 to 14 hours per 24-hour day as a one- to two-year-old.

How Will Nighttime Sleep Change?

The amount of nighttime sleep needed will gradually decrease from as many as 16 hours a night at age one to as few as 9 hours per night by age two.

How Will Naps Change?

As your child gets older, fewer naps will be needed, and each nap will become shorter. Kids usually stop needing naps by age five. As a toddler, however, most kids still nap once or twice a day for a total of one to three hours. If you can, don’t allow your child to nap close to bedtime, since that may impact his or her ability to fall asleep—or sleep well—at night.

How Do I Get My Kid to Settle Down Before Bed?

It’s important to establish healthy pre-sleep routines (a.k.a. proper sleep hygiene) with your child early on so that he or she continues to make sleep a priority as the years pass. To avoid meltdowns when it’s time to nap or go to bed at night, create a fun routine around going to sleep (like reading books together or listening to soft music), or provide your kid with some form of comfort — like a security blanket — if your child gets anxious when you leave the room.