Kids and sleep: Get them on the right track

All of us know that kids need their sleep, but it’s not always easy getting there – especially when they put up a fight at bedtime. (In my case, it’s my 2-year-old believing that she’s missing out when I put her down for a nap in the afternoon. "Mommy, I'm not tired! Let's go downstairs," as she rubs her eyes and yawns.)

Wondering how much sleep your child needs? How long will a child still need a nap? What do do if a child is having nightmares? The Sleep and Your Child: A Guide for Families from Nemours answers these questions and more. It’s a good place to start for tips about establishing a routine to help them get ready for bed and what to do about common sleep problems such as night wakenings.

What happens when kids don’t get enough sleep? Research suggests that a lack of sleep in children can have a negative impact on their health, growth, behavior and cognitive development. In this blog, we’ve covered how a lack of sleep could raise a teen’s risk of depression, how poor sleep habits could contribute to obesity, and the importance of consistent bedtimes.

The guide also offers advice on when to seek help for your child's sleeping problems. For babies and toddlers, milestones such as teething, can disrupt sleep for a short period of time. However, the booklet says you may want to consult your doctor if a child cannot be comforted, and irritable day after day from interrupted sleep. To help a doctor review your child’s sleeping habits, there is a sleep chart at the end of the guide where you can write down their daytime and nighttime sleep.

The guide also available in Spanish. Here's to more restful nights for kids (and parents)!

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