I once believed my oldest son always would sleep in a bouncy seat.|
He was tiny and colicky and the only place he would stop screaming and sleep was in a vibrating bouncy seat. My husband saw no problem with this. But I wailed, unable to enjoy the silence.
"He's going to be 5 and still sleeping in a seat!"
My son, now 3, sleeps soundly every night in a big boy bed, having graduated from the crib where--once the colic ended--he passed many peaceful nights, and where his 1-year-old brother now dreams the nights away.
As it turns out, the trick to good nights for your children--and you--is consistency.
Toddlers and preschoolers need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep, according to medical experts. Elementary school-age children still should get as many as 12 hours and at least 10 hours of rest each night.
Sleep experts of all varieties recommend setting a bedtime routine in infancy to teach your child to soothe herself to sleep. Your child shouldn't be crashing into bed, overtired and cranky. She should be going through steps that lead to a set bedtime every night.
The bugaboos that plague infant sleep--colic, developmental milestones and teething among them--eventually pass, but they are replaced by a whole different set of issues once your child graduates from a crib. There are the child-caused variety--stall tactics like needing one more hug, pleeeeeeaaaaase--that should be ignored. And then, there are the ones that come with this new developmental stage. As many as five kids in 10 might have some of these minor sleep issues:
Most of these issues are small, normal and never cause a problem. But some, such as sleep apnea or night terrors, can become large problems if they disrupt sleep. They and other issues, including insomnia, also might be signs of bigger health concerns. When in doubt, talk to your doctor. Here are some more ways to help your child get a good night's sleep:
How to Keep Bedtime from Becoming a Nightmare
Tips to Ensure a Good Night's Sleep--for Kids and Parents
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