Sleeping: Toddlers

Here are the general recommendations for how much sleep children need:

  • Infants 4–12 months should sleep 12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis
  • Children 1–2 years old should sleep 11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis
  • Children 3–5 years old should sleep 10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis
  • Children 6–12 years old should sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis
  • Teenagers should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis

Infant sleep training guidelines can be used at 5–6 months of age. Keep in mind that it is normal for things to worsen in the first night or two, but they will get better. Remember: consistency is the key to success.

  • Continue to disassociate feeding with sleeping. If your baby needs to eat, do this in another room (not the baby’s bedroom) and make sure the baby does not fall asleep while feeding. Ideally, switch to bottles at night and have the father/non-nursing partner give night feeds.
  • Consolidate the sleep routine to include a consistent repertoire that anyone can replicate. For example, books, sleep sac (at naps, as well as bedtime), singing the same sleep song, or washing up/taking a bath. Try to keep this part of the routine to 20–30 minutes at most.
  • Put your baby to bed tired but awake. It is essential for the baby to learn to fall asleep independently in the crib.
  • Go in once to reassure that you have not left and say “I love you. Good night.” Repeated visits can make babies more upset, but you can go in more than once if you want to. The key is to offer as little intervention as possible and refrain from picking them up.
  • When your baby wakes up again, go in once to reassure, and leave as soon as possible.
  • Make sure the room is dark and free of too much stimulation to help reinforce the idea that the bedroom is for sleeping.
  • Consider helping your baby attach to a “lovie.”
  • Watch for early signs of being tired. Sleep begets sleep. If your baby is overtired, your baby will actually fight sleep more and falling asleep will be harder. If your baby cries through an entire nap cycle, keep them up for an hour and try again.

Most babies sleep 10–12 hours at night and take 2–3 naps during the day. We expect your baby will become a deeper sleeper and have a more consolidated sleep pattern once they learn to fall asleep independently. This process should take 3–7 days if done consistently.