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How Long Does the Average 16-Month-Old Sleep?

by Melinda Kedro

Sleep is an essential component to every child's development. According to the National Sleep Foundation, during sleep your child experiences increased blood flow to the muscles for growth, restoration of energy, tissue growth and repair and the release of hormones necessary for proper development. The National Sleep Foundation also asserts that a child will spend 40 percent of his childhood asleep, demonstrating the necessity to be aware of how much sleep your 16-month-old needs on a daily basis.

Amount of Sleep Needed

According to BabyCenter, pediatricians recommend that, on average, children between 12 and 18 months old need 13 to 14 hours of sleep daily. Every child is different in regards to sleep patterns and behaviors, but at 12 months old your child should be sleeping for 11 1/4 hours at night with two naps during the day that range from one to 1 1/2 hours in length. By the time your toddler is 18 months old, he still needs the same 11 1/4 hours of nighttime sleep but will most likely have transitioned to one longer nap during the day. Since 16-month-old toddlers fall in between the 12- to 18-month range, your child may or may not be ready to transition to one nap a day.

Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Establishing a regular sleep schedule for your child can start when your baby is 2 months old. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a sleep pattern begins to emerge for infants between the ages of 2 to 12 months. Put your child down for naps at the same times every day. Develop a consistent and predictable bedtime routine that you and your child can follow every evening. A 16-month-old child should have an established bedtime sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. to ensure adequate sleep. Be sure to create a sleep-friendly atmosphere for your child with a safe place to sleep in a darkened room free from disruptive sounds. By the age of 16 months, your child should be encouraged to fall asleep independently and to soothe himself.

Transitioning From Two Naps to One Nap

Your 16-month-old may be ready to transition from two naps a day to just one nap in the afternoon. According to Jennifer Waldenburger and Jill Spivack, both specialists is pediatric sleep disorders, it is reasonable for a child to take a couple of weeks to adjust to this transition. Some signs that your 16-month-old is most likely ready to transition to one nap a day include playing or fussing for 30 minutes before falling asleep at nap time and then only sleeping for a brief time, being able to take car rides during the day without falling asleep, missing his nap and remaining energetic and happy until the evening and napping well for one nap but rejecting the second nap.

Sleep Deprivation

Jodi Mindell, sleep expert and author of "Sleeping Through the Night," explains that parents often make the mistake of attributing poor sleep habits to their child not needing as much sleep as pediatricians recommend. Mindell urges parents to recognize signs of sleep deprivation in their toddlers in order to establish a more healthy sleep routine. If your child consistently falls asleep while riding in the car, if you have to wake your child up in the morning on a regular basis, if your child seems irritable and overtired during the day and if your child falls asleep earlier than his regular bedtime on some nights, he may be suffering from a lack of adequate sleep. Notice the duration of your 16-month-old's naps and be sure he is getting the recommended 11 to 12 hours of sleep at night to ensure proper health and development.

About the Author

With more than 10 years experience in early childhood education, Melinda Kedro holds a Masters degree in education, teaching certification through the Association Montessori Internationale and is a licensed childcare provider through the Colorado Department of Human Services.

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