Dec
09
2009

ÑHILDREN’S SLEEP PROBLEMS/BUILDING THE BASICS: NORMAL DEVELOPMENT AFFECTS SLEEP

When children make developmental strides, it can send them into disequilibrium—and sleep is disrupted. This can affect a child in several ways. He may be so excited about learning a new skill that he has a hard time settling down—he may even be driven to practice skills in his sleep. During normal arousal, instead of going right back to sleep, the new “stander” stands in his crib. It may be easier to understand if you relate it to yourself: think about a time you were learning a new skill—when you were dreaming at tennis, going over that shot you missed, or worrying about the match next day.

Mastering one skill brings a child quickly to the next frustration. When stands in her crib, she may cry desperately because she hasn’t yet learned how to get herself down. She needs you to help until she can help herself again, needs a little extra reassurance, so separation difficulties are common.

Dealing with developmental sleep issues may be particularly frustrating because parents do not have control over a child’s development. Sometimes only “cure” is allowing the development to continue on its own with encouraging messages from you. It helps to recognize that the transition probably be short-lived. Overreacting and doing too much can only prolong problem if she becomes dependent upon your help to go to sleep.

Although each child is an individual, there are guidelines and Ü information that apply to all. Table 3 summarizes the affect of development sleep. With this foundation, you can begin to look at the specific is concerning you about your child.

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