A Not So Good Night

The most common bedtime problems among toddlers and school-aged children are:

• Difficulty falling asleep within a reasonable time (e.g., 30-60 minutes) and

• Bedtime “resistance" (i.e., refusing to go to bed when instructed).

Pediatric sleep specialists often advise parents to tackle sleep problems by putting their children through sleep training. Several training programs have been scientifically tested, and, in general, parents who stick with these programs report improvements in bedtime behaviors.

However, before you try sleep training, it’s important to understand why your child won’t sleep. Kids may resist bedtime for a variety of reasons. Once you identify your child’s personal sleep issues, you’ll find it easier to choose a sleep training program that’s well-suited to your child’s needs.

Just as important, you might discover that you don’t need to try sleep training at all. Some bedtime problems have relatively simple remedies.

Possible reasons for sleeping issues:

1.Separation anxiety and nighttime fears

If your child is fearful, he needs your help. Children lack the brain maturation and cognitive skills to cope well with distressing emotions, and there is no evidence that nighttime fears or separation anxiety will diminish as a result of sleep training

2.The wrong bedtime

Kids who are put to bed too early get understandably bored, and, as they lie awake with nothing to do, these kids may find their minds dwelling on anxieties and fears.

The other scenario is that you are correct about how much time your child needs to sleep. But your child's internal clock is set to a different schedule, one that involves falling asleep later and waking up later than your lifestyle permits.

3.Overtiredness

Children are tricky when it comes to showing signs of tiredness. Some kids seem to get ever more active as the night wears on—even though they are in desperate need of sleep. When kids become overtired, they may be too stimulated or nervous to fall asleep. If this is your child’s problem, review your family’s evening schedule. Is bedtime too late? Do you help your child wind down before bed by leading him through a pleasant, soothing bedtime routine? Do household activities quiet down in the last 2 hours before bedtime?

4.Television and other media devices

Limit the amount of television and other media devices a child has throughout the day, but most importantly at night. Children that watch TV right before they fall asleep get 45 minutes less sleep a night then their peers that do not. Set a bedtime routine of reading a book before bed.

5.Allergies

Kids with allergies are more likely to suffer from insomnia. They are also more likely to suffer from noisy sleep. If your child has allergies and bedtime problems, consult your physician.

Family Testimonial:

This is an excellent resource for all families. Thank you for providing this great opportunity for parents to help their children exceed all expectations!
- JP- Oro Valley