Children aged 1-2 years should get 11-14 hours of sleep per day.
By Vikas Satwik
Babies and children require sleep to grow and develop properly. Sleep is beneficial for health and well-being for both the parent and child. And your child is more likely to grow, develop, and thrive when you are physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
Toddlers: Children aged 1-2 years should get 11-14 hours of sleep per day. This could be split between sleeping at night and taking a nap or two during the day. It may take several weeks of trial and error to figure out what works best for your toddler.
Child health experts who speak with you at childcare centres, child and family health centres, and hotlines will provide you with several strategies to help you try it at home. As you begin to implement these strategies, it helps to keep the following in mind:
Before deciding that it won’t work and trying other ways, work with a professional to plan for how long to try. Do your best to stick to the method that you and the professionals decide is best for your baby.
Organise backups when starting a new policy
Determine who you can contact for assistance or emotional support. Most early education centres, for example, will provide a phone number for follow-up questions. They have personnel who can respond to your inquiries.
Ensure that the bedroom environment is calm, cool, dark, and suitable for sleep. The night light or area light with the lowest dimming setting is good. Playing soft, relaxing music or sound effects is very good. Remember to reserve a bed for sleeping only; it should not be used as a gaming platform.
Don’t watch TV in the bedroom. Any other form of screen time (iPad, smartphone, etc.) should not be part of the bedroom settings. These will over-stimulate the child and make it more difficult for him to fall asleep.
Maintain a regular bedtime routine
To reduce light exposure, turn off overhead lights and use dim table lamps 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Establish calm and enjoyable activities, such as taking a bath or reading bedtime stories, in the 30 minutes before bedtime to help your child wind down. It’s a good idea to set strict limits on how many books or songs you’ll listen to.
Each day, stick to the same bedtime and wake-up times. Don’t cut nap time too short – make sure it doesn’t happen too late in the day or is too short – either of these will result in a lack of a good night’s sleep.
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When to seek help from the doctor regarding toddler’s sleep:
Your child appears to have breathing difficulties, snores, or makes noise while breathing, or you have observed your child stop breathing while sleeping.
You are concerned because your child exhibits unusual nighttime behaviours, has an unusual number of awakenings, or has significant nighttime fears.
You believe your child’s sleep issues are affecting his or her behaviour during the day.
Toddler safety concerns
Toddlers are at an age when they are becoming more aware and inquisitive about their surroundings. As a result, as parents or guardians, you must be more vigilant about your child’s crib, what is placed in it, and its surroundings. As an example:
Extra-large stuffed toys or bumper pads should not be left in the crib or on the bumper pads because your toddler can use these items as a step to climb over the crib rail.
Look for and remove any objects with strings or ties that could end up wrapping around your child’s neck, such as cords on blinds or curtains.
Examine any objects that are too close to your child’s crib and that your child can reach from a standing position, such as wall hangings, curtains, window blinds, and dresser doilies.
If your toddler is extremely active, it may be time to transition him or her from a crib to a toddler bed for safety reasons.
(The writer is Consultant Pediatrician & Neonatologist at Motherhood Hospitals, Hebbal, Bengaluru.)
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