Kids & Sleep: Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule

I had my 1st child at 24-years-old. I had just finished my psychology degree and had been waited to be a mommy all my life! I had grandiose ideas of what it would and wouldn't look like, some of which I still stick to and others of course have developed and changed over the past 4 years. One of the 1st things I stressed about was learning what my new baby needed and how to figure that out. The thing that helped me the most in accomplishing this was learning her routine, patterns, or "putting her on a schedule", as some call it.

I've had tons of advice sent my way in these past 4 short years. Sleeping has been one of the major ones I've heard about: She needs more sleep. Do your thing, when she's tired she'll pass out. Let her drop where she may. Scheduling everything. Stay home during her napping years. Everyone needs their own room for sleep. She sleeps too much. Chunk'm all in a bed. Why do you do that?

I've sifted through it all. Deciding what advice is God-send and what isn't for our family. Here are a few of the things I've learned, believe in, and have adopted concerning my babies and their sleep:

1-4 Weeks Old:15 - 16 hours per day
1-4 Months Old:
14 - 15 hours per day
4-12 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day
1-3 Years Old: 12 - 14 hours per day
3-6 Years Old: 10 - 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 - 11 hours per day
12-18 Years Old: 8 - 9 hours per day

  • These are the sleep recommendations according to the Mayo Clinic:
Age group Recommended amount of sleep
Infants 14 to 15 hours
Toddlers 12 to 14 hours
School-age children 10 to 11 hours
Adults 7 to 9 hours

{I posted these 2 because they are the "norm" for sleep recommendations and are test and proven the healthiest in lots of realms including our home}

All this "sleep" talk and schedules may sound crazy to some or perfect for others. Some of you may be going, "I know they need sleep by why "schedule"? I'm with ya. I am an odd combination of an organized AND laid back personality type. By "schedule", all I really mean is I figuring out what she needed when. By trying to stick to this, it helped her feel secure by having simple things she could rely on dailey. An infants needs are basic: eat, sleep, play, lots-a-love! Routine gives them security by letting then know these basic needs will be met.

For our family, sleep was the hardest to figure out. I stresses all the time because my baby wouldn't stay asleep even though I could tell she was tired. I'd taken care of all her other needs I knew this must be the issue in her schedule. Once we figured out the sleeping everything else seemed to fall into place. I want my babies to be healthy. That's my 'job', right?

God blessed me with these little lives to disciple them into becoming bond-slaves for Him. The way I'm going to do that, starting in these formative years, is by treating them the way Christ parents me: He does what's best for me even when it doesn't make me happy, I think I know what's good {not best} for me, and have my own ideas of what I need. I tell my babies often, I'm not here to make you happy, I'm here to keep you safe, healthy, and show you the love of Christ. The love of Christ some times looks like what is often called "tough love" and many times it's good ol fashion gentle gracious snuggly love.

What is your biggest struggle with sleep and your littles?

This is the 1st in a series I'm doing on Kids & Sleep. Stay tuned for
Charting Baby's Routine,
Environment, and
{These may change a little based on comments and questions as we go}
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  1. 40%??? sure doesn’t feel like it when you have 3 little ones!!! LOL Jokes aside I’m fortunate my kids are pretty good sleepers !!! :o) but i’m never sure if my 3 year old should still have a nap or not…I have a collection of pictures of her falling asleep in random places :P, but when she naps…she won’t go to bed until super late! so we eliminated naps and it’s helped, but she still struggles some days. Our youngest is 5 months old, so now for him I am trying to plan a sleep schedule + nap times. Definitely took notes form your post!! Thanks!

    • I totally understand about it not feeling like 40% with 3 little ones!!!!
      I didn’t get to expand here but I’m sure you can find more than 1 post or a dozen tweets about my nap fights with my oldest who just turned 4 last Friday. I know {and am still learning about that age’s napping} those young preK agers have trouble. Some days they need the nap and other WE need them to nap ;o) I’ve had tons advise me to let her have “rest time” but most days that’s still not enough for her poor little body. I’ve tried making her nap and then waking her after an hour. I’ll have to share more about this in a future post now that I know I’m not the only one in this boat right now!
      I am super encouraged that this post was helpful. Thanks for chat’n!

  2. Great post! I think sleep is crucial for babies/toddlers and I always used that schedule you posted and it was a blessing for me and my family. I heard babies grow while they sleep… so sleep does a body good. Sleep is still crucial even as adults! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this post with us at Healthy 2Day Wednesdays. Hope to have you link up with us and visit again! 🙂

    • I too have heard that babies only grow while sleeping {just couldn’t find a resource to back that fact}.
      I love linking to you and enjoy visiting everyone’s posts ;O) I’ll definitely be back!


  1. […] that I was a stressed out mamma with my 1st baby as well as all about what I’ve learned about Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule. Most days, she’s the one I’m stressing over still. Poor first children always end up […]

  2. […] lets talk about what to do now that we know why children should have a nap schedule, how to chart baby’s routine to figure out when they should nap, and how to set up their […]

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