How Much Sleep Does A Child Really Need?

My 2-year-old son is impossible to wake up in the morning. On average, he gets eight hours of sleep a night, but on weekends he can sleep 12 hours easily. Does he really need 12 hours of sleep or is he just being difficult?

He is not being difficult. That fact that your son is hard to wake up indicates that he is not getting enough sleep. Young children generally need more sleep than adults. (And for many adults, eight hours is not enough sleep.)

Without a regular dose of adequate sleep, children are more prone to catch colds and other infections. They are also more likely to be cranky, irritable, frustrated and disagreeable with other children, as well as slower and less energetic at play.

Individual needs vary, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your son needs between nine and thirteen hours of sleep each day, including naps. Try putting him to bed an hour or two earlier at night and see if that helps. Develop a daily bedtime routine that starts about a half hour or so before his actual bedtime to give him a chance to wind down and mentally prepare for sleep.

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