Normal Stages Of Sleep For The Child Ages 8-12

One of the most popular posts on this blog over the years has been this little post about normal sleep stages:  This actually is not my own personal favorite post on sleep.  My personal favorite is here:

Normal stages in sleep, according to The Gesell Institute, include:

Age 8:

  • Can usually get ready for bed themselves, but like to be tucked in.  (for my co-sleeping families, I doubt The Gesell Institute has looked at co-sleeping in this age population at all).
  • Most go to sleep quickly or in under a half an hour.
  • Nightmares are not as prevalent at this age.
  • Ten hours of sleep is an average; The Gesell Institute puts the average bedtime between eight and nine.  For my Waldorf families out there, eight years old would most likely be second grade or the start of third grade and the bedtime may still be as early as seven thirty.
  • An “ectomorphic” child – those angular, thin, children can often have a hard time falling asleep.

Age 9:

  • Can get ready for bed by themselves
  • May argue about bedtime and say no one else has to go to bed as early as they do.
  • The Gesell Institute states that nine o’clock is an average bedtime; again for my Waldorf families this is probably rather late.
  • Most go to bed willingly; some read in bed before falling asleep
  • Some may have  nightmares or scary dreams
  • Many nine-year-olds are up by seven o’clock
  • Nine hours of sleep is the average.  I personally think this is too low for a very active nine-year-old.
  • Again, the ectomorphs may be the ones with trouble falling asleep, and they may have a harder time waking up.

Age 10:

  • Ten-year-olds are not aware of when they are actually tired and may need to be reminded of bedtimes and the need for sleep.
  • Bedtimes still average about nine o’clock but may need a strong parental push to go to bed at that time instead of staying up later.
  • Boys of this age go to sleep easier and fall asleep more rapidly than girls.
  • Usually children of age ten sleep through the night and the time of sleep may be reduced to anywhere from ten and a half hours to nine and a half hours with boys sleeping longer than girls.
  • Waking and getting up is not typically a problem.
  • Seven o’clock is the common waking time.
  • Ten –year-olds may still have nightmares, especially after being sick.

Age 11:

  • Lots of dissatisfaction if bedtime is perceived by the child as “too early”; may need a lot of reminders to go to bed.
  • An eleven-year-old typically will use almost any excuse to delay going to bed.
  • Usually an eleven-year-old needs more sleep and needs to go to bed earlier than they think they do.
  • Most stay awake for about half an hour before they fall asleep.
  • Some are anxious if they are in a room alone and need to share a room with a sibling.
  • Once an eleven-year-old is asleep, they usually sleep very soundly.
  • They can be happy risers or some need time to lie in bed after they wake up.

Age 12:

  • The fight about bedtime has usually subsided, although a child may still need to be reminded!
  • Nine-thirty is an average bedtime according to The Gesell Institute.
  • They may not talk about their fears at night, but most twelve-year-olds have them.  Some keep a flashlight by the bed or would like a sibling around.
  • Sleep is more restless and not as deep.
  • Troubled dreams occur.
  • They may talk in their sleep.
  • Average waking time is still around seven a.m.
  • They may not be a happy riser!

Many blessings,

8 thoughts on “Normal Stages Of Sleep For The Child Ages 8-12

  1. My boy just turned 9. For the past 3 years the school-year schedule (he is Waldorf schooled, starting 3rd grade) he sleeps about 11 hours per night with a bedtime around 7:30 and waking at 7 a.m. He gets up to urinate once in the early a.m. He is the opposite of an ectomorph–he’s built with the larger muscles, has been a “good eater” and has rounded features but is not overweight (tummy sometimes looks a little sculpted). I call him a tank because he can eat a lot and then go for quite some time without eating. He can also hold a lot of urine). Winter time / school year we all have longer sleep times. And actually, my 6 year old has been on the same schedule as the 9 year old. I haven’t treated them any differently, except that if they learn to read they will be allowed some reading in bed alone time.

    • Rachel,
      I think that is a pretty normal time for bedtime in Waldorf families. What I have heard is start at 7 PM for first grade, then move up by 15 minutes a year (ie, first grade 7 o’clock, second grade 7:15, third grade 7:30, fourth grade 7:45, 8 PM for fifth grade, etc).
      And I totally agree with you that winter, for my family as well, often yields longer sleep hours.
      Many blessings and thank you for sharing,

  2. Pingback: The Normal Stages of Sleep For Children | The Parenting Passageway

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