Good, Sound Sleep for Your Child
Making sure your child gets good, sound sleep ensures he or she will have a sound foundation for proper mind and body development.
Sleep on These
Following are some observations from various studies
illustrating some of the difficulties faced and the behavioral changes in
children with sleep problems (from Wiessbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy
Child and On Becoming Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam,
- Children do not "outgrow" sleep problems; problems must be
- Children who sleep longer during the day have longer attention spans.
- Babies who sleep less in the daytime appear more fitful and socially
demanding, and they are less able to entertain or amuse themselves.
- Toddlers who sleep more are more fun to be around, more sociable, and less
demanding. Children who sleep less can behave somewhat like hyperactive
- Small but constant deficits in sleep over time tend to have escalating and
perhaps long-term effects on brain function.
- Children with higher IQs -- in every age group studied -- slept
- For ADHD children, improvements in sleep dramatically improved peer
relations and classroom performance.
- Healthy sleep positively affects neurologic development and appears to be
the right medicine for the prevention of many learning and behavioral
What Parents Can Do
As parents, it is our responsibility to be sensitive to and
protect our children's sleep, just as we do their safety, just as we ensure
that they regularly get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are primarily
responsible for their sleep habits so it is important to start healthy ones
early; it is much easier to instill good habits than correct bad ones.
Infuse the importance of sleep with daily attention to it and
you will likely have a happier, self-assured, less demanding, and more sociable
child. And you just might get some more sleep yourself.
Originally published June 2, 2003.
Medically updated Oct. 21, 2004.