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How much sleep do toddlers need?

Toddlers need sleep—and lots of it. A well-rested kiddo is happier and has an easier time remembering, behaving and learning. Little ones who consistently get adequate sleep will also have healthier immune systems.

But how much sleep do kids need? Kids between the ages of 1 and 2 years old need 11 to 14 hours of daily sleep. That's counting naps.

Healthy sleep habits

If your sweet pea isn't meeting their daily sleep quota, these tips can help:

1. Stick to a schedule. Try to keep your kiddo's wake-up, meal, nap, play and tuck-in times consistent. Knowing what to expect helps kids feel comfortable—and less likely to protest at bedtime.

2. Follow a bedtime routine. A good one is the three B's: brush teeth, book and bedtime. This routine can be done anywhere, which can help your youngster nod off even when you're staying at a hotel on vacation.

3. Be active together. Drifting off is easier if your child has interesting, varied activities during the day, including physical activity. Fresh air is a good sleep booster too.

Be sure to cut down on playtime before bedtime. Your child needs time to wind down before drifting off to dreamland.

4. Create a sleep-friendly bedroom. Dim the lights before bedtime and don't fill up your youngster's bed with toys. One or two things—a teddy bear or favorite blankie—are fine. In fact, they can ease separation anxiety and help your child sleep through the night. But a toddler's bedroom should be a place to sleep—not to play.

5. Check in with caregivers. Check with anyone looking after your toddler about signs of poor quality sleep, such as "zoning out" or falling asleep when it's not nap time.

A word about naps

Your growing child isn't outgrowing naps yet. Between ages 2 and 3, most children still need an afternoon nap of about one to two hours. Otherwise they may melt down late in the day.

Some toddlers may resist naps, even though their mood reveals they still need them. One fix is to experiment with a later bedtime—that might help your sleepyhead rest better during the day.

Quick tip: If you have any concerns about your child's sleep, let your child's doctor know. Most sleep problems are easily treated—as long as you speak up.

Reviewed 3/21/2023

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