February 23, 2018

Bedtime Battle and Whine

images-1By Jacquelynn Duquette, NPP, MS, RN

It’s back to school time and kids are having trouble waking in the morning.  Groggy and tired in the morning and pushing limits to play longer in the evening. Getting less than the needed hours of sleep and can lead to mood changes, behavior problems and problems with attention and concentration.   The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has issued new guidelines for children.

  • Infants* 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

A good idea is to start with the time needed to wake and prepare for school or day care drop-off and count backward to set a bedtime to support hours needed of   sleep.   This could mean cutting back on evening activities to allow for some settling down time in the household or arranging transportation if possible for the older children in the household.  So… start bedtime routines one hour before by turning off electronics, cell phones and tablets.  Follow a consistent schedule including week-end nights.  Routines may include a light snack, bath time, book reading or listening to music and quiet play in the child’s room.  Follow a routine which progresses to quiet darkened room and time alone.  Start with a few minutes alone if your child generally requires a parent in the room to fall asleep. If your child wakes at night, (all human beings do), allow for a few minutes of fussing and see if he/she will return to sleep.  If your child has a habit of waking and coming to the parent bedroom, here are some good references to start with.  If your child is having significant problems with falling asleep, wakes often during the night or snores loudly, you will want to discuss with the pediatrician seeing a specialist.

Healthy Sleep Habits , Happy Child  A Step by Step Program for A Good Night’s Sleep . 4th Edition by Marc Weissbluth, (2015) Ballantyne Books.
Sleeping Through the Night, Revised Edition. How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a good Night’s Sleep. by Jodi Mindell (2005) William Morrow Paperbacks.
Sleep Problems May Affect Children’s Behavior American Academy of Sleep Medicine October 29,2012
Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, D’Ambrosio C, Hall WA, Kotagal S, Lloyd RM, Marlow BA, Maski  K, Nichols C, Quan SF,  Rosen CL, Troester MM, Wise MS. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: a consensus statment of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med 2016; 12(6):785-786.