NAP TIME SCHEDULE
When we sleep, the time of day that we sleep is very important. Sleeping at the same time every day and at an appropriate time of day helps to regulate our circadian rhythm. This is very important for children and naps. Sleeping at the appropriate time allows a child to optimize all of the benefits of sleeping. Especially during the time of life when they are growing, developing, and learning so much. Sleep contributes to a child's ability to retain and recall information, to speak, to regulate emotions, to build confidence, etc. So, below I have provided you with typical schedules for each age range.
Some children might have earlier or later schedules than the ones provided below. However, children typically don't fall too far from the schedules provided, if at all. Helping your child to create an appropriate schedule for his age can help improve his overall sleep.
To make sure we are on the same page, let's discuss a couple terms often used. One, routine. When I refer to a routine, I am referring to a pattern. Two, schedule. When I refer to a schedule, I am referring to a routine based on the time of day.
Now, let's dive in! Below are the different routines and schedules based on specific age ranges.
Ummmmm, Ha. What schedule? At this age, we focus on routines.
Your newborn will/does not follow a "schedule" as his circadian rhythm has not yet developed. Expect sleep to be a little bit all over the place.
However, at this time, focus on helping your child to sleep and to not become overtired. It is important to pay attention to your baby's wake window - the duration of time that your baby can handle being awake.
Until about six weeks of adjusted age, the wake window is only about forty-five minutes. Around six weeks it begins to slowly progress to about one hour and thirty minutes.
It is also good to note that around six to eight weeks of age, your newborn will start to pick up on patterns, will benefit from an earlier bedtime, and will begin to experience about four to six hours of consecutive sleep for the first portion of night sleep.
FOUR TO SIX MONTHS
Around sixteen weeks of adjusted age, the circadian rhythm starts to become a little bit more mature. Gradually, your baby will become more reliable on a schedule rather than just a routine of wake windows. You will need to be flexible during this age as you will help your child to get onto a schedule while also paying attention to wake windows. Here is an example schedule of what your child will be working towards biologically:
Wake Time: 6:30/7AM
AM Nap: 8:30/9AM
PM Nap: 12/1PM
One or Two Catnaps
SIX TO NINE MONTHS