Healthy Sleep Habits

February 08, 2016

Posted By: Shaunescy


Healthy sleep habits are important for all of us, especially for our young children. Sleep makes happy babies, and happy babies make happy parents. Babies under 1 year of age need approximately 11 to 12 hours of sleep, and toddlers need about 10 to 11. That’s a lot of zzz’s.

Adequate sleep helps your child in many ways. On the other hand, inadequate sleep can be harmful to your child’s development.

Here are a few reasons your baby needs to snooze:

» Learning and Memory : Children who get enough sleep are able to learn and retain information at a faster rate compared to children who are tired.

» Immune System : Little bodies are able to fight off illnesses when well rested.

» Temperament : We can all relate to this: We feel happier when we have had enough sleep. Behavior problems in young children can often be linked to sleep deprivation.

» Healthy Lifestyle : Studies have shown that obesity in young children can be traced back to a lack of healthy sleep routines.

How do we help our child sleep? Here are a few things to think about.

» Bedtime Routines : What does your child’s bedtime routine look like? Is it the same each night? Young children thrive on routines and consistency. If your child is not getting enough sleep at night, consider what is happening before you are putting them to bed. Some healthy ideas for toddlers include a quiet game, brushing teeth and reading a book. For babies, it may include a diaper change, cuddle time and singing. Whatever the routine is for you and your child, consistency each night is key. Sometimes a bedtime routine chart can be helpful.

» Unplug : Playing electronic games or watching television can cause sleep disruption for adults and young children alike. Consider bedtime routines that don’t include electronics, such as reading a book.

» Environment : Is your child’s room dark enough? Are their pajamas comfortable? Is the room too cold or too warm? Do they

» Food : What type of snacks is your child having before they go to bed? Snacks such as fruit can actually give young children a boost of energy. Consider snacks that combine protein and carbs such as toast and peanut butter, yogurt or cheese.

Sleep difficulties are common and can be frustrating for both you and your child. Sometimes a change in routine or environment is all that is needed, or your child may be experiencing a growth spurt. Hang in there; sleep can be tough for some children. It may take some time, but soon they (and you) will be sleeping through the night.

Hanna Doil holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development and Education and serves as the Parent Educator at Thrive. If you would like to talk more about your child’s sleep habits or would like additional tips, please call Thrive at 406-587-3840 or visit

More from Montana Parent

Thank You to Our Sponsors