Do baby and toddlers need 12 hours sleep?

Do baby and toddlers need 12 hours sleep?

Baby and toddler sleep

We all need sleep to help our bodies grow, heal and develop, and as children have more growing and developing to do than adults, they naturally need more sleep. But often children don’t get as much sleep as they need, and that can lead to problems, both short term and in the future. Children who don’t get enough sleep may be difficult to wake in the morning or sleepy during the day, and over-tiredness can make it even more difficult for a child to fall asleep at bedtime.  Long term sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues, such as obesity and depression, and children can experience learning and behavioural difficulties if they don’t get enough sleep. Read more

Parent should have a united front at bedtime

Parent should have a united front at bedtime

It’s lovely when Dad is as keen to get involved with baby’s bedtime as Mum – but if you’re not prepared to show a united front it could lead to problems.

The most important thing to help your child settle, is a good toddler bedtime routine. Babies and toddlers who have a consistent bedtime routine learn how to settle much more easily than those who regularly have a disrupted bedtime. Read more

Toddler Sleep Issues - Falling asleep to music?
Toddler Sleep Issues – Falling asleep to music?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing Music

Many parents find that playing music can help their baby sleep. However, while music and songs can be an important part of the bedtime routine, sometimes leaving a baby to sleep with music playing can actually help bad sleep habits develop and delay your baby learning to settle themselves.

Babies love noise – after all, while they were in the womb they heard everything that was going on around them – so it makes sense that having some noise in the background can make them feel comfortable and secure at bedtime. Read more

Cot / Crib Jumping Toddler

Cot / Crib Jumping Toddler

Judy’s Personal Experience

My daughter Jannah jumped out of her cot when she was 2 years old, it came as quite a surprise, all of a sudden my child who was so happy to settle at bedtime and sleep 12 hours a night had decided to jump out of her cot as soon as we left her room! How we dealt with this was key to overcoming this phase. We went back to her and as she was hysterical we calmly comforted her and told her it was bedtime, we placed her back in her cot and left her room, she then went to sleep. She did this for another few nights but we had by then placed cushions around her cot to make it safe and each time we just calmly placed her back in her cot. After a few unsuccessful attempts she eventually realised that we were not changing bedtime rules and stopped her phase of cot jumping and went back to happily going to sleep at bedtime and sleeping 12 hours through the night. Read more

Picture - BabyWinkz - Bedtime battles

Toddler Sleep Issues - Bedtime Battles

Toddler Sleep Issues

As a mother of two toddlers and from working with families, I completely understand the challenges that toddlers place on us when it comes to bedtime! The stalling tactics, tantrums, over excitement and tears!

The toddler stage is a time when your child starts to understand what they can and can’t control – and while this is an important developmental process, it can bring with it problems such as toddler bedtime battles. There are other reasons why bedtime may become difficult too – perhaps your child is scared of being left alone, fearful of the dark, overtired or just doesn’t want to miss anything going on in the house! Whatever the reason for your toddler bedtime battles, here are some tips to help. Read more

Fantasy and Reality Children Can Not Tell the Difference

Halloween will be celebrated very soon, October 31. During this time of year it’s up to parents, caregivers, friends and family to keep Bogeyman / Boogieman at bay from young children.

Not many people know why we dress up every Halloween and terrify each other. Let me explain, Halloween originates from pagan festivals held annually around the end of October in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Many people believed that during this time, the spirits of the dead would come ‘alive’ and walk among the living. They thought in order to avoid being harmed, it was important to dress up in costumes to “blend in” with the spirits or mimic them.

If your child under 7 years of age is afraid of people wandering the streets dressed as ghosts and goblins.  Do not worry, you are not alone. Up until this age, their brains can not distinguish between fantasy and reality. They have not yet developed Cognitive Developmental reasoning; therefore they can not grasp concrete logic or mentally manipulate information. So if they see a person in costume dressed as a monster, they see a monster not the person.

When your child has experienced Halloween and the outcome of it was frightening and scary for them. The likely result at bedtime will be a nightmare, which are unpleasant and terrifying dreams. Nightmares occur during the second half of a night’s sleep, when REM intervals are longer. (REM known as Rapid Eye Movement because the eyes are rapidly moving beneath closed eyelids.) As soon as your child wakes they can remember and describe the dream, so it is understandable for them to call out for comfort, want to sleep in your room or need an object of affection which makes them feel safe.

 

How do I handle my child’s nightmare?

From personal experience, last year Halloween (October 2011), my husband answered the door to trick or treat children who were dressed up as ghosts and scary monsters. Unfortunately our Daughter was behind him and saw them, she was very frightened and witnessed this just before her bedtime. So you imagine what her night was like! Everyday for the remainder of the week she would run away and hide every time the door bell rang.

 

Nightmares are scary and are very uncomfortable for children, but they preventable. After a nightmare your child may or may not go back to sleep easily depending on their age and how scary the dream was. To help them relax and associate bedtime with safety and comfort, please follow the advice I used for my own daughter:

 

  • 2 Hours before bedtime – Do not let your child watch, read, listen or participate in activities which will disturb them or get them over excited, as this will form the basis for their night’s sleep.
  • Preparation for bed – Ensure your child is comfortable and relaxed, not highly stimulated. Talk about pleasurable and happy topics such as holidays or things they like to do. As part of my bedtime routine with my daughter, I twirl like a fairy and sprinkle magic fairy dust all over her. This reassures her and lets her feel protected against her nightmares.
  • After a nightmare – Listen to what your child has to say when they explain the dream and tell you about the monsters. Acknowledge their fears let them know you believe and trust them. Console and comfort your child, make them feel safe by telling them something like “the monsters have gone away now, they are on holiday.” If necessary check the wardrobe and under the bed, let them know their room is clear and harmless to sleep in.

 

Night Terrors

Night Terrors are very different from Nightmares.  Every child’s experience of a night terror differs, but usually they can not be woken from sleep, they may scream, thrash about, sit bolt up right in bed, sweat, act upset and may not recognise you when trying to comfort them. Do not fret or worry, so long as your child is in a physically safe environment they are not in any danger or harm and will not have any memory of their behaviour the next morning. It is far more frightening to witness, as the parent or care provider, you are unable to help or stop what seems like torment for your child.

Night terrors occur when a child’s sleep transitions from the deepest phase of (non-REM) sleep to lighter (REM) sleep, a phase where dreams occur. Between sleep cycles your child wake’s briefly, then usually self settles and goes back to sleep. The night terror is when their mind is trying to go back to sleep, but part of their mind is trying to wake up, both trying to win.

The reasons or triggers for night terrors can be due to:

  • Over tired
  • Fatigued
  • Illness
  • Reaction to new medication
  • Excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping in a new environment or away from home

How do I handle my child’s night terror?

  • Prior to bed time – Same as the nightmare preparations, ensure your child is relaxed and stress reduced to minimum.
  • Bedtime – Your child should not be over tired, fatigued or have stayed up to late.
  • During/After the night terror – Do not try and wake your child, as it can be distressing for you when they remain in the same state. If you are able to awaken your child, they are likely to be disoriented and confused, therefore taking longer to settle down and go back to sleep.
  • Repetitive night terror – If the night terrors occur frequently and at the same time every night, you may find that waking your child breaks the cycle. This can disrupt their sleep pattern enough to stop the attacks without affecting sleep quality.

For most children, nightmares and night terrors happen only now and then so there is no cause for concern. If you need further help, I encourage you to download my comprehensive guide “The Five Steps To Getting Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night!” You can also contact me.