Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

There are ways to help your child sleep well

Harold Mandel's picture
A child sleeping

Sleeping well at night is essential to the healthy development of children and there are ways you can help your child sleep well at night.


Getting adequate good quality sleep is essential for the healthy development of children in body and mind. There are many ways you can help your child sleep well naturally at night.

15 percent to 20 percent of children between one and three years old have nightwakings

Valley Health System reports studies have indicated that overall 15 percent to 20 percent of children between one and three years old have nightwakings. Sleep associations which are not appropriate are the primary cause of frequent nightwakings according to Stephanie Zandieh, M.D., the Director of Pediatric Sleep Disorders and Apnea Center at The Valley Hospital.

Conditions which are habitually present at the time which sleep begins and which are present when the infant or child has learned to fall asleep are known as sleep associations. These same conditions are than needed for the infant or child to fall asleep again after periodic arousals at night. Thumb sucking is an appropriate sleep association. Problematic sleep associations which require parental intervention and which therefore can't be reestablished indpendently by the child include nursing, rocking, thumb sucking and parental presence.

There are many ways you can help your child sleep well

There are many ways you can help your child sleep well through the night. It's a good idea to develop a sleep schedule which is appropriate with an early bedtime. Keep in mind if your child is very tired at night he is likely to awaken more often from sleep and therefore several naps during the day are a good idea.

It can help to introduce a security or love object for your child. Such an object could be a doll, blanket or stuffed toy which helps a kid feel safe and secure in your absence. You can help your child develop an attachment for a security object by including it as a part of the routine at bedtime.

Follow eMaxHealth on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.

A good bedtime routine helps your kid sleep well. This should be consistent and should include activities which are calm and enjoyable. Giving your child a bath or reading a bedtime story help make up good bedtime routines.

A consistent bedtime environment will also help your child sleep well. Your child's environment in the bedroom should be the same at bedtime as it is during the entire night. Consistent dim lighting is a consideration here.

It seems to help to put your child to sleep awake. So after the regular bedtime routine you should place your child in a crib while the child is still awake and leave the room. When your child learns to fall asleep on his own he can more easily put himself back to sleep when he awakens naturally during the night. Some children prefer parents to stay in the room with them at first when they are falling asleep.

Some chldren seem to need more frequent checking

It's also helpful to check in on your child when he cries or yells. Some chldren seem to need more frequent checking than others to relax. You should tell your child it is time to go to sleep as calmly as possible. Your child will be reassured when you check in on him and you will feel reassured that your child is alright.

Temple University has reported a study has supported the notion of leaving infants alone to cry themselves asleep again. The study done by Temple psychology professor Marsha Weinraub gives support to the idea that most infants do best when they are left to self-soothe and to fall back to sleep on their own.

Each baby has his or her own independent temperament and so mild variations in approaches to helping your baby sleep well at night might be necessary. But the bottom line is you can help your child sleep well at night if you are patient and this will have dramatic health benefits for your child.