Many new parents expect their newborn infants to take regular naps throughout the day (and then to sleep all night) even when they are only 4-10 weeks old. Unfortunately, a newborn's sleep cycle is not ready for 2 hour naps in both the morning and afternoon followed by a 10 -12 hour extended sleep at night. But, by the time your child is 6-9 months of age (and sooner for some great sleepers); they should be on a good schedule with a morning and afternoon nap. Naps are usually anywhere from 45 min 2.5 hours. I think naps serve a dual purpose, as they provide rest and rejuvenation for both child and parent. Nap time, just like bedtime should be scheduled, typically mid morning and mid afternoon and a child should be able to put themselves to sleep after a book or a story. Naptime routines can be bit shorter than the bedtime routine. You will be able to tell when your child is ready for a nap as they may rub their eyes, or get fussy, or some may just lay their heads down or point to bed as they know they are tired. By the time a toddler is somewhere between 12months to 2 years of age they will usually drop a morning nap and continue to have their midafternoon nap. This is usually right after lunch. Transitioning from 2 naps to 1 nap a day is a little dicey at first, as your child may get quite cranky in the morning as you drop that nap, while at the same time their afternoon nap may become longer. This adjustment period usually only lasts several days to a week and then you will find that they are back on a good nap/nighttime schedule. I get asked about stopping a child's nap. I think naps are important (and as we adults know a privilege) for children until they are in elementary school. Most kindergartens continue to have rest time after lunch and many children will fall asleep for 20-30 min while the teacher reads them a book or music is played and the children lay on their mats. Even if your 4 or 5 year old child doesn't want to nap in the afternoon, the
If you're the parent of a teen, this does not surprise you at all: teens do not get enough sleep!
An online study released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says, 70 percent of high school students are not getting the recommended hours of sleep on school nights. I could have done that study in my office on any given day of the week!
Having raised 3 teenagers as well as thousands of teens in my practice, I know this to be true, first hand. The problem is this age group is least likely to believe or convince that lack of sleep causes a plethora of physical as well as psychological problems.
According to the CDC study, which was just published online in Preventive Medicine, insufficient sleep is associated with numerous risky behaviors including drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, fighting, lack of physical activity and being sexually active. The data on sleep was accumulated from the 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey where students were asked, on an average school night, how many hours of sleep do you get?Insufficient sleep was defined as less than 8 hours, while sufficient sleep was 8 or more hours per night. On an average school night, almost 70% of responders reported insufficient sleep.
In my practice I ask every child/adolescent about their sleep habits and routinely find teens are averaging between 5 to 7 hours of sleep per night. They also come in everyday with a chief complaint of FATIGUE!
I used to tell my own sons throughout their high school years that they needed to be in bed at 10:30p.m. They could not understand why I was up pr
Has your child ever screamed out in the middle of the night but doesnt really seem to be awake? If so they are probably having a night terror, which typically occur in children during the toddler, pre-school and early elementary years.
Night terrors occur during the first few hours after a child falls asleep, when non-REM sleep is the deepest. During a night terror your child may cry out, with their eyes wide open and their pupils dilated. They often are breathing fast and heavy and may seem to be agitated and sweaty.
While they may appear to be awake, in reality they are only partially aroused. A child having a night terror will not recognize you and may not allow you to comfort them, becoming even more agitated if you try to hold them or calm them down.
Night terrors often terrify parents as well. Many a parent, including me, tried to figure out what in the world would cause a child such distress while they were sleeping?
Night terrors are similar to sleep walking episodes in older children. Children who are old enough to communicate will have no idea that they had been awake during the night and when asked have no memory of the event.
Night terrors seem to be more frequent in children who have not had a good nights sleep, so try to have a regular bedtime routine and always limit television and video exposure prior to bedtime.
The study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University and appears in the journal Sleep. It shows that adolescents and teens with strict bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to be depressed and to have suicidal thoughts than their classmates whose parents allowed them to stay up till midnight or even later. Another study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health examined the sleep habits of more than 12,000 high school students and found that a mere eight percent are getting at least the recommended nine hours of sleep per night. The Columbia researchers found that bedtimes set by parents were almost as important as the total number of hours slept. Kids who were sent to bed at midnight or later were 24 percent more likely to be depressed and 20 percent more likely to have thoughts about suicide compared to teens whose lights had to be off by 10 p.m. The researchers surveyed 15,000 children in grades seven through 12 and their parents and found that more than two-thirds of the adolescents said they went to bed when they were supposed to. For 54 percent of kids, that's 10 p.m. or earlier on school nights. Another 21 percent must go to bed by 11 p.m, and 25 percent go to bed at midnight or later. The teens were also asked to fill out depression questionnaires and were asked whether they had seriously thought about suicide over the past year. Scientists have long known that there was a link between depression and poor sleep. But there has always been a question as to whether the depression caused insomnia or whether poor sleep led to depression. The fact that parent-enforced bedtimes play such a significant role suggests lack of sleep may actually be a cause, not just an effect of depression. As you know, I believe it's critical for all teens to have a firm bedtime. Begin winding down their night by turning off all electronics 1/2 hour before they head to bed. No TV on in the background and their cell phone should be
I am so fortunate that I still get to take care of a lot of newborns, many of whom are friends of mine who are having their first grandchildren! I consider this a perk to be the pediatrician.
Twenty-Seven minutes of extra sleep doesn't sound like it would make much of a difference in a child's behavior, but according to a new study it could help a child be more productive and brighter.
Researchers discovered that kids who slept that extra amount each night were less impulsive, less easily distracted, and less likely to have temper tantrums or cry often and easily. By contrast, losing just shy of an hour's worth of sleep had the opposite effects on behavior and mood.
Small changes in bedtime and daily routine could go a long way says researcher Reut Gruber, PhD. She is an assistant professor of psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Conversely, one more video game and staying a little longer in a friend's house ... could add up and have a negative impact on the daytime functioning of healthy children.
The small study included 34 children aged seven to eleven who had no sleep, medical, behavior or academic problems. The children were divided into two groups. One group went to bed an hour earlier than their normal bedtime and the other group, an hour later for one week. To monitor their activity and sleep, the children wore a wristwatch-like device.
According to the study, kids who got 27.36 minutes more sleep per night showed improvements, while those who got less than that did not.
Besides being a very exact number, does 27.36 minutes really make a difference?
In daily life, if you think of the impact of short power naps, usually about 15 to 20 minutes during the day, you can see that this amount of sleep can have a significant positive impact on mood, attention, and well-being, says Gruber.
The children who were allowed to sleep more were found to be more alert, better behaved and more empathetic. Those with less sleep were determined to be less alert.
The children's teachers were asked to fill out behavioral assessments. The teachers had no idea there was an expe
Does your child snore? If so, have your discussed their snoring with your pediatrician. A new study published in Pediatrics supported the routine screening and tracking of snoring among preschoolers. Pediatricians should routinely be inquiring about your child's sleep habits, as well as any snoring that occurs on a regular basis, during your child's routine visits.
Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea and/or sleep disordered breathing (SDB), and habitual snoring has been associated with both learning and behavioral problems in older children. But this study was the first to look at preschool children between the ages of 2-3 years.
The study looked at 249 children from birth until 3 years of age, and parents were asked report how often their child snored on a weekly basis at both 2 and 3 years of age. Persistent snorers were defined as those children who snored more than 2x/week at both ages 2 and 3. Persistent loud snoring occurred in 9% of the children who were studied.
The study then looked at behavior and as had been expected persistent snorers had significantly worse overall behavioral scores. This was noted as hyperactivity, depression and attentional difficulties. Motor development did not seem to be impacted by snoring.
So, intermittent snoring is common in the 2 to 3 year old set and does not seem to be associated with any long term behavioral issues. It is quite common for a young child to snore during an upper respiratory illness as well . But persistent snoring needs to be evaluated and may need to be treated with the removal of a child's adenoids and tonsils.
If you are worried about snoring, talk to your doctor. More studies are being done on this subject as well, so stay tuned.
There are many reports of injuries from toddlers crawling out of their crib, although most of the time the child who falls out of their crib is not injured. But, there are reports of injuries such as fractures of the forearm, or the clavicle or even of the humerus from children who climb out of their cribs.
Of course toddlers and 2 year olds think they are invincible and that they can fly just like a super hero. Many children are more than content to stay in a crib and never venture out until parents just decide that it is ultimately time to get their child out of the crib. Sometimes it may be out of necessity, as a new baby is due. I am not a big believer of buying more than one crib unless you are having twins etc. (My frugal side I guess). Although it is nice to have your child behind bars in their cribs, many a child can easily be moved to a big bed and never dream of getting out of that bed either.
That was the case with one of my boys, when we moved him to the big boy bed we were convinced he was the type of child who would get up and come walking down the hall for a visit. Quite to the contrary, he would awaken in the morning and call out to us, Mommy, I am up, come get me! I swear, it was as if he had a moat with sharks circling his bed, he just never realized that he could just put his cute little 2 year old feet on the floor and head out!! He was inquisitive about everything else, so go figure.
Children will always surprise you. I like to move a child out of their crib several months before a new baby is due so that the transition is easy and complete before the new sibling arrives. That way the big brother or sister does not feel as if their new baby sibling has displaced them and they are proud of being the big kid in their own big bed.
The bedtime routine should not change as you move a child from crib to bed either. When I moved our sons to a big bed I just pushed the bed up ag
Many parents of pre-schoolers report that their children have some sleep problems, whether it is delaying going to bed, having a hard time falling asleep, or awakening during the night with nightmares and bad dreams. All of these behaviors lead to sleeplessness for both child and parent.
A recent study from the Seattle Children's Research Institute published in Pediatrics looked at 565 children between the ages of 3-5 years. The parents of these children were asked to replace violent or age inappropriate media content with quality educational and pro-social content. In other words, less super heroes and more Sesame Street and Dora. (I still long for the serenity of Mr. Rogers). The researchers then monitored these 565 children's sleep patterns for 18 months.
The study found that the children in the group advised about healthy media were 29% less likely to have sleep problems than the children in the control group.
Once again there is data to support what one would intuitively assume, children who watch violent and age inappropriate TV and videos have more problems with sleep. I have known that since I watched The Wizard of Oz as a child, I dreamed about those flying monkeys for at least the next 10 years. Still don't like them! That goes for The Birds' too, another scary movie for sure!
With easy access to so many cable channels and constant internet options, parents need to be extra vigilant about what their pre-schoolers are exposed too. When parents were coached on making healthy media choices for their child in this randomized trial, there was a sustained reduction in sleep problems, so it lasted!
I think a trip to the library and books at bedtime are also a great idea and better than watching TV or videos. Curious George, Dr. Seuss, and Richard Scary books all seem to stand the test of time and will probably not keep your pre-schooler up at night. More sleep fo
The best way to attack the problem of bedwetting begins when you and your child have had a discussion about their feelings related to bedwetting. This often happens as they get older and continue to have problems with bedwetting and they are anxious or embarrassed. If you bring up the subject and they would rather just wear a pull up at night, and go back to playing outside rather than discuss strategies for staying dry, it is not time to tackle the issue. Timing is everything! As you start to discuss strategies to stop bedwetting, begin with having your child keep a calendar of their dry nights. This gets them involved and gives you an idea of their level of commitment. Then start setting their alarm clock to awake them in the morning and see if they can get up on their own. If the alarm doesn't wake them up for school it is probably not going to awaken them in the middle of the night. Remind them to recognize their need to go to the bathroom during the day too, and have them go every several hours to feel the sensation of their bladder filling throughout the day. Many of these kids are infrequent voiders during the day and have actually stretched their bladder wall and hypertrophied the bladder muscle. Lastly, make sure that they are not constipated and put them on something like Miralax to ensure that they do not have stool that also compresses the bladder (the colon sits right above the bladder and can push on the bladder). Talk about a reward system that they would like to use while working on the problem. It doesn't have to be a major reward, small things work equally well. I think the rewards should be given by the week, rather than the day. I also give rewards for effort, not just for dry nights. Trying is the whole idea. Sometimes the brain and bladder are just not ready and you do not want your child to feel defeated even though they have tried their hardest. If all of this is successful it is then time to set up a bedwetting alarm sy
If you're having trouble getting your preschooler to sleep at night, you may want to monitor what they are watching on TV before bedtime. A new study suggests that kids between the ages of 3 and 5 years old have more trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep if they have watched violent TV shows or computer videos or age-inappropriate media content.
Kids in this age group who were exposed to non-violent and age appropriate materials, in the hours before bedtime, were 64 percent less likely to have any type of sleep disturbance.
Children this young have a more difficult time separating reality from fiction. Even an episode of the popular kid's program SpongeBob SquarePants might be considered too violent for very young children noted the study's lead author Michelle Garrison.
"Making a relatively simple change in what kids are watching is a change worth the effort," said Garrison, a principal investigator at the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute. "Sometimes parents feel overwhelmed by the idea of getting rid of TV altogether, but switching shows can make a big difference."
The link between media use and children's sleep problems isn't new; other studies have had similar results using a variety of children ages and media use. This study focused on three to five year olds and the viewing of violent media or age-inappropriate content before bed.
The current study included nearly 600 children aged 3 to 5 living in the Seattle area. Families were randomized into one of two groups: One group received a home visit, follow-up phone calls and mailings with coaching about how to make better media choices for their young children; the other group simply received mailings about nutrition.
The researchers didn't attempt to reduce the total number of hours of media use. The goal instead was to reduce violent and age-inappropriate content.
Some of the programming