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Thu, 26 Jan 17
Is this normal??
Every parent asks themselves this question in regards to their child’s sleep schedule. Some go farther and ask their friends, relatives and in-laws, their pediatrician, parenting coaches, the guy at the grocery store… We want reassurance that our kid is doing ok – and confidence that if she’s not, we’ll notice in time to help. But 99% of the time, the answer is (are you ready, new parents?): YES, it’s totally normal. Just like adults, “normal” kids fall into a huge range – tall to short, shy to gregarious, athletic to clumsy, messy to neat freak, night owl to morning person. Add to that the fact that they’re constantly growing and changing and learning, and “normal” is a terribly difficult thing to nail down.
So here’s the bad news: we can’t tell you the “ideal” sleep schedule for your child. The ideal schedule is the one that works best for your family! The best way to tell if a particular schedule is working for your child is to pay attention – are they regularly getting over-tired during the day? Do they wake up rested in the morning? Taking notes or using the Evoz Smart Baby Monitor app to track your child’s sleep and eating habits can help you get a handle on things.
But we get it, “we can’t tell you” is hardly a satisfying answer! Lots of times when parents ask “what’s normal?” what they’re really looking for is ideas, standards against which to set their expectations. I’d like my baby to sleep through the night without a feeding – how realistic is that, at this stage of her life? Is it time to be thinking about dropping that morning nap? Our sleep expert, Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady® handles questions like these all the time. Here’s what she reports are typical sleep amounts for babies and toddlers:
The amount of nighttime sleep your child needs is not as constant as it looks in this table because it will vary as their nap schedule changes: for example, a 3-year old who is still napping might only need 10½ hours of sleep at night, but a 4-year old who doesn’t nap might go back to 11½ . But the big sleep changes in your child’s early years tend to take place during the day: as they get older, children are able to stay awake for longer stretches, and eventually to get through the whole day without a nap.
If you are concerned about your child’s sleep habits, by all means ask your pediatrician. If you’re looking for more ideas, check out Kim’s book or her website. Or ask the guy at the grocery store… But we’re 99% sure you’re going to be fine!
Disclosure: This blog post contains contextual affiliate links. Evo Inc. may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.