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THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP FOR OUR CHILDREN:

Sleep directly affects a child's ability to learn
Studies have shown that babies and children who do not have healthy sleep habits have shorter attention spans and poorer concentration. Sleep loss also affects adaptability (being able to switch tasks easily both mentally and physically), which directly correlates to success in school. Small but constant deficits in sleep over time have escalating and possibly long-term effects on brain function.

Sleep directly affects behavior
Children who are overtired are physically impulsive, hyperactive and easily distracted. Research shows that these children exhibit a more difficult temperament and are easily bored. This can have devastating effects on your child's relationships with family, peers and other adults such as teachers or baby sitters.

Sleep directly affects health
Sleep loss can affect cellular immune function. Poor sleep habits makes a child far more vulnerable to common illnesses and viruses. This can disrupt the family, may mean more missed days in school and more disrupted sleep due to the sickness.

Learning Your Child’s Sleep Requirements
For young babies it is important to learn your child’s cues for being tired. This could be redness around the eyes, yawning, rubbing face, “zoning out”, and/or getting fussy. The optimal window to put your child to sleep is before these signs appear. Once your child exhibits her sleepy signs she is already overtired.

Older infants, toddlers and preschoolers follow a specific schedule. This schedule changes dramatically between 7 months and 6 years of age. Understanding and enforcing your child’s sleep requirements and optimal sleep schedule is critical to success. During the second year, it is very common for children to resist naps (and just about everything else as well). However, this does not necessarily mean they no longer need to nap, rather they no longer want to nap.

Napping and/or Bedtime Battles
While teaching your baby, toddler or preschooler to sleep can feel daunting for parents, it is never too late to help your child learn these skills. Many parents feel apprehensive about addressing their child’s sleep problems, but reach a point where they feel there is no choice. It is common for children to develop sleep problems as an older baby or toddler and these problems will continue if not addressed. Achieving a sense of peace as a result of a well-rested family is an attainable goal for all families.


 

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