Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.3: Support physical care routines for children
Learning outcome: Understand rest and sleep needs of children
Assessment criteria: Explain the rest and sleep needs of: a baby aged 6 weeks, a baby aged 7 months, a toddler aged 15 months, a child aged 2 and a half years, a child aged 4 – 5 years, a child aged 6 – 7 years
Explain the rest and sleep needs of: a baby aged 6 weeks, a baby aged 7 months, a toddler aged 15 months, a child aged 2 and a half years, a child aged 4 – 5 years, a child aged 6 – 7 years
Sleep is important for children and babies as it helps the brain and body to rest. The brain is active during the waking state, but during sleep, it has a chance to rest. This is important for growth, development and for learning. Sleep also helps the body to repair itself
Babies and children need more sleep than adults as their brains and bodies are still developing, however, specific requirements will vary between individual children.
Rest activities are also important for children – these are low-sensitivity, relaxing activities, such as chatting, looking at a book, drawing and listening to music. This helps the brain to recharge even when the body is active. It is important that children have enough sleep and rest as this helps them to grow and develop properly.
According to the NHS Great Ormond Street Hospital:
- Babies aged 6 weeks need 12 to 18 hours of sleep.
- Babies aged 7 months need 12 to 16 hours of sleep, which includes naps.
- Toddlers aged 15 months need 11 to 14 hours of sleep, which includes naps.
- Children aged 2 and a half years need 10 to 13 hours of sleep, which includes naps.
- Children aged 4 – 5 years need 10 to 13 hours of sleep, which includes naps.
- Children aged 6 – 7 years need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, which includes naps.
These are typical numbers, however, rest and sleep patterns can vary between individual children. Some children may need more or less sleep and rest periods than the average, depending on factors such as their activity levels, medical conditions and special circumstances in their home life, as well as their own genetic makeup.
It is essential that Early Years practitioners are familiar with the sleeping patterns of the babies and children that they work with.