September 20: Getting your child to sleep through the night

Research suggests that 85% of children who have night waking, have persistent sleep problems 3 years later.

Nighttime awakenings are normal occurrences for both children and adults and occur regularly and normally about 10 times per night. Adults learn to roll over, perhaps glance at the clock or adjust a pillow and drift back off to sleep. That is because when adults awaken, they are able to soothe themselves by recognizing their familiar and comfortable environment. When addressing children’s sleep problems, parents best plan of attack is to look at their child’s sleep association. If a sleep association is a parent or an object like a pacifier or a bottle, then when kids have a normal awakening, then become upset when they can’t find it. Teach children to soothe themselves from an early age and not become dependent on an object or a person to do this. This is best done with a short, calming bedtime routine and leaving the child when he/she is drowsy but still awake. Older children who have a well developed sleep association object can learn to eliminate this behavior with a gradual process. Ask your pediatrician about strategies that can help you and your child.

This article is courtesy of Dr. Carolyn Day, pediatrician and internal medicine provider at High Lakes Health Care. Special thanks to Shevlin Health & Wellness Center for presenting this handy tip!