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Growth & Development


Sleep is a critical activity of child development. Adequate sleep promotes self-regulation, growth, physical health, memory and cognitive functioning. In typically developing infants and toddlers, lack of sleep has been associated with parental stress, attachment difficulties and maternal depression. In atypically developing infants, sleep problems are often attributed to neurological or physical abnormalities, although psycho-social factors also play a role.

It takes time for infants to develop a sleep-wake cycle and some infants take longer than others. Various factors such as time, cues, biology, environment and infant temperament all play a part. The amount of sleep varies greatly from one child to the other.


Approximate Sleep time in a 24 hour day:

  • 0 - 6 months Up to 16 hours, but as little as 10 hours has also been reported.

  • 6 - 12 months Up to 14 hours per day,

  • 12 months - 3 years About 10 to 13 hours

  • 4 -5 years 10 to 12 hours

If a child presents any of the following behaviours, consider this a red flag:


Dependence on caregiver presence and soothing actions i.e. nursing or rocking

► Resistance to or fears and anxieties around sleeping

► Poor airway functioning/airway obstruction i.e. noisy breathing, snoring or breathing pauses due to enlarged adenoids or respiratory infection

► Excessive crankiness or temper tantrums

► Problems in cognitive functioning i.e. attention, learning and memory

► Coordination problems e.g. accidents, injuries, slower reaction time



Services and Information related to Sleep:

Having more general concerns about a child's development?

Having difficulty coping? Need some advice?

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