Sleep

What Time Should Kids Go to Sleep by Age?

Reviewed By

Discover optimal age-appropriate bedtimes for kids. Ensure healthy sleep habits with recommended sleep times for newborn, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age kids!

Uploaded on:

24/1/24

Last Reviewed:

10/4/2024

Reading time

8 min

Table of Contents

As experienced parents, we know that determining the ideal bedtime for our children can be a challenging task. However, this blog will provide definite solutions to unravel this mystery confidently.

What time should kids go to sleep?

Determining the ideal bedtime for children depends on several factors, such as their age, development, and individual needs. Here is a bedtime sleep chart by age:

Age Suggested
bedtime
Sleep duration
Newborn
(0 to 3 Months)
No specified bedtime 14-17
hours
Infants
(4-12 months)
7:00 - 8:00
PM
12-16
hours
Toddlers
(1-3 years)
6:00 - 7:30
PM
11-14
hours
Preschoolers
(4-5 years)
7:15 - 8:30 PM 10-13
hours
School-age children
(6-13 years)
8:00 - 9:00 PM 9 -11
hours

This information is from Recommended Hours of Sleep of National Sleep Foundation in last updated sleep duration recommendations in kids. 

Newborn (0 to 3 Months)

For newborns (0 to 3 months old) typically have irregular sleep habits, taking brief naps throughout the day and night to get a total of 14–17 hours of sleep.

Infants (4-12 months)

For optimal health, infants need to sleep for 12-16 hours a day, including naps. While younger infants may have more flexible sleep patterns, the ideal bedtime for most infants is between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM.

Pay attention to individual wake windows and sleep cues. Establish a consistent routine with soothing activities like feeding, bathing, and singing. Allow for frequent nighttime wakings.

If you need more detailed information about wake windows, please refer to our article. Wake windows by age

Toddlers (1-3 years)

Toddlers require 11-14 hours of sleep per day, including 1-2 naps. It's best to aim for a bedtime of 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM, adjusting as needed according to the nap schedule.
Adjusting to a single nap could necessitate an earlier bedtime. Keep an eye out for symptoms of fatigue and modify schedules as necessary. Establish a relaxing nighttime ritual and follow it religiously. As you wake up during the night, be firm but gentle.

Preschoolers (4-5 years)

Preschoolers aged equire 10-13 hours of sleep per day, with naps becoming less frequent or disappearing. Ideally, they should go to bed between 7:15 PM to 8:30 PM.

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine for preschoolers, including quiet and calming activities before bed, is crucial. To ensure a good night's sleep, limiting screen time before bedtime and addressing any anxieties or fears that may interfere with sleep is essential. Take a look! ⬇️

School-age children (6-13 years)

For children between the ages of 6 to 13 years, it is recommended that they get 9 to 11 hours of sleep each day. 

While naps are not usually necessary at this age, some children might still benefit from having a little, peaceful period of time to themselves in the early afternoon. 

The ideal bedtime for children in this age group is between 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. This range allows for enough time to get a restful sleep before waking up for school and also accommodates individual differences in sleep needs.

💖 Friendly Reminder: Make Exercise a Habit. Children who engage in regular physical activity sleep better and fall more quickly. But stay away from doing intense workouts right before bed.

Here's an image to help you understand bedtime hours for your child based on their age!

Bedtime Sleep Chart by Age

Bedtime tips for kids

Getting the kids to bed can seem like a never-ending tug-of-war, especially when schedules change or special occasions arise. But don't worry, tired parents. This guide unravels the mysteries of sleep in different situations:

✨Bedtime for kids on weekends 

You can have slight flexibility; it's okay. While consistency is key, a relaxed schedule on weekends can be beneficial. Aim to put them to bed one to two hours later on weekdays.

Stick to their usual wake-up time and adjust bedtime accordingly sleep they need to maintain sleep duration.

🌴 Bedtime for kids during vacations

Kids' sleep routines may differ from their regular schedules. A possible sleep routine for them could be established as follows:

  • Gradual adjustments: Avoid sudden changes in sleep routines. Make changes gradually (30-60 minutes) over a few days.
  • Maintain a routine: Keep familiar elements, such as bedtime stories or bath time, even in a new environment.
  • Daytime activities: Ensure children get enough playtime and outdoor activities so they can tire naturally, which will help them sleep better.
  • Control late nights: If staying up late is unavoidable, compensate by putting them to bed earlier or adjusting the timing of daytime naps.

🎅🏻 Bedtime for kids in holidays 

Holidays will always be the most uncertain time, and we will not always be able to give our best performances as parents, but here we help you stay asleep and make the best attempt.

  • Maintain healthy boundaries: Avoid sugary treats or excessive screen time close to bedtime, even during festivities.
  • The calm atmosphere before sleep: Despite the festive spirit, create a quiet, relaxing space for winding down before bed.
  • Post-holiday adjustments: After the celebrations, gradually return to the regular weekday bedtime routine within a few days.

Signs that your child is not getting enough sleep

As parents, it is always important to stay one step ahead of your little ones beyond yawning: Decipher the hidden clues babies sleep through that indicate your child needs more sleep. 

Explore practical strategies and insights if you're facing the challenge of a baby fighting sleep.

Many things can cause insufficient sleep or sleep deprivation, including medical problems, mental health issues, and poor sleep hygiene (sleep habits).
💡
Children’s Hospital Colorado

Let's look at a few indicators that your child isn't sleeping enough:

  • The classic yawn: Yes, yawning is a natural response, but excessive yawning throughout the day, especially after meals or during activities, can be a telltale sign of drowsiness.
  • From sunshine to a storm: Sudden outbursts of anger, frustration, or crying can be a symptom of sleep deprivation. Remember that even the sweetest child can become a grumpy monster when sleep is in short supply.
  • The memory maze: Difficulty remembering information or recalling recent events can indicate sleep is not doing its job correctly.
  • The immunity dip: Sleep is essential for a robust immune system. Frequent illnesses or infections can indicate your child's body isn't getting the rest it needs to fight germs.

3 Millions of families already trust us

The #1 app for parents and kids in more than 150 countries.

Download now!

How to create a healthy bedtime routine for your kid

Putting your little one to bed doesn't have to be a struggle every night. You can create a calming pre-sleep routine that turns bedtime into a particular part of the day, leading to restful nights and energetic mornings. Here's how to do it:

1. Set a consistent schedule

Like clockwork! Consistent bedtime stories, and wake times, even on weekends, are crucial for regulating your child's internal clock and ensuring restful sleep. This predictability provides security and helps their body wind down as bedtime approaches.

If you want to understand more about this topic, we invite you to check out our blog!  bedtime routine for kids

2. Include calming activities

Make bedtime a relaxing transition away from the hustle and bustle of the day. Opt for quiet activities that you can find in our StoryBook App, such as:

  • Audio stories.
  • Singing lullabies.
  • Take a warm bath or gentle stretching. 
  • Affirmations & Meditations

These activities signal the body that it is time to relax and prepare for a deep sleep. See how to do it!

3. Limit screen time

The blue light emitted from screens disrupts sleep patterns. Power down TVs, tablets, and phones at least an hour before your child's bedtime anyway. Encourage alternative activities like reading or board games to promote relaxation and mental preparation for sleep.

4. Create a comfortable environment

Dim the lights, ensure your child sleeps in a calm and quiet room, and dress your child in comfortable pajamas. 

Invest in blackout curtains or a sound machine if necessary. A peaceful and sleep-inducing environment makes falling asleep more accessible and more appealing.

5. Avoid caffeine or sugar

Avoid sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks close to bedtime, as they can energize and hinder sleep. 

Offer milk, warm water, or herbal teas instead. Remember, a healthy, balanced diet throughout the day will contribute to better sleep patterns at night.

6. Wind downtime

It is crucial to help your child transition from active play to quiet activities before bedtime. It is best to avoid roughhousing or stimulating games closer to sleep as they might delay sleep. 

This will help your child relax, fall asleep, and get a good night's sleep.

We encourage you to visit our blog if you would like to learn more about this subject: sleep training methods

3 Millions of families already trust us

The #1 app for parents and kids in more than 150 countries.

Download now!

References

More Sleep Posts