Defining a Sleep Problem
Does your child, in fact, have a sleeping problem? This is
the most important question you must ask yourself, as a parent, if you
suspect your child is not getting the sleep he/she needs.
Questions to Ask Yourself
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Is your child relatively happy most of the day?
Is your child able to play independently for an appropriate period of time?
When your child wakes up from a nap or morning time, does he/she seem to
Is your child healthy?
Is your child adaptable to new situations/environments?
If you can answer, yes, to the majority of these questions then
you can feel quite confident that your child probably doesn't have a sleep
problem. All children are different so in turn their individual sleep
needs can differ from one child to the next. This is why it is important
to first ask yourself these questions before assuming your child in fact
has a problem.
Sure your child could be the only one on the block, playgroup or school
who takes short naps or stopped taking naps much earlier than the majority
of other children.. But, does that mean that your child has a sleeping
problem? No, remember that every child has his/her own individual unique
needs. You, as his/her parent, have to be the judge to know if your
child's sleep needs are being met.
If you suspect your child does have a sleeping problem after asking yourself
the previous questions, consider the following:
If your child is under 3-4 months of age, are you expecting too much from
your child? * Sleep/wake rhythms do not develop in babies until 4+ months
after the EED and possibly 6-9 months for post-colic infants. (Basically
saying that if the rhythms are not well developed yet then trying to create
a schedule or expecting a baby to be sleeping without waking up at night
might be asking the impossible) How to provide the best sleep for your
baby in the meantime, go to Soothing,
Timing and Motionless Sleep and also Starting
to Follow the Clock
If your child is 4+ months and his naps are very short and irregular and/or
wakes up at night for other than feedings/diaper changes. Go to
If your child is 4+ months and you are having trouble creating a schedule
consider controlling the wake up time, by 7am. For more info go to
If your child is older than 9 months of age and is waking up at night consistently
consider how his/her sleeping is during the day and adjust the bedtime
earlier. If the naps are not good, go to Starting
The most common cause of nightwakings in older children is too late a bedtime.
Could this be the case? Sometimes, depending on how the naps are
for the child an 8pm bedtime just might be a little bit too late for him/her.
Go to Nightwakings