Establishing and maintaining healthy sleeping habits
April 13, 2010 (WPVI) -- One of the biggest parenting challenges in our home is trying to get an 8-year-old to go to bed on time.
He always seems to find an excuse for wanting to stay up longer. "Can I have a snack" or "but I'm not really tired" or "will you read me a story again?"
It has become frustrating, but as a parent it is up to me and my wife to see if there is a bigger issue why my son is avoiding bedtime.
Is he fearing something? It can be a common problem according to experts. 20 to 30 percent of young children have significant problems going to bed or are awakened during the night.
And the percentages may be higher for older children, because many parents may be unaware that they're having sleep problems.
But before tackling the problem, pediatric specialists say it's important to understand why your child won't sleep. Once you identify your child's personal sleep issues, then it's easier to choose a solution.
For example, we recently found that my son was receiving too much stimulation during the day and was actually over-tired. So when he was supposed to be sleeping he was wide-awake, and when he was supposed to be awake, he was sleepy. Recently we took him to see a Broadway play at the end of a busy evening in New York City. It was too much stimulation and he was knocked out shortly after intermission. It had to be a funny sight to see an 8-year-old being carried through Times Square like a sack of potatoes!
Yet overtiredness is just one cause of a child's bedtime problems. Here are some others according to experts:
- 1. Separation anxiety and nighttime fears.
2. The wrong bedtime
4. Too much caffeine
It's important to identify what's causing a child's sleep disturbance before simply turning off the light and telling him or her good night.
rick williams parenting reports, parenting, rick williams
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