BEHAVIORAL TREATMENT OF BEDTIME PROBLEMS IN YOUNG CHILDREN
Table of Contents
Healthy sleep is important for a child’s growth and development. Bedtime resistance and night wakings are common problems in young children. They occur in about 20 to 30 percent of infants, toddlers and preschool children. Behavioral strategies can treat these problems in young children who are under 5 years of age.
Is My Child at Risk ?
Bedtime resistance occurs when children stall or refuse to go to bed. These behaviors test the limits established by parents. When parents enforce consistent bedtime limits, children tend to fall asleep quickly. Bedtime resistance in children can include:
As children become toddlers, night wakings remain a common and normal part of sleep. Problems can arise when children are unable to return to sleep without help from a parent or caregiver.
Sleep problems that frst appear in infancy may persist as the child grows older. Sleep problems can aﬀect a child’s learning, mood, attention, behavior and health. A child’s sleep problems also can cause stress for parents, caregivers and siblings.
Ongoing sleep problems may be a sign of a sleep disorder. Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems can have positive eﬀects on how the child acts during the day. Treatment also can improve the well-being of parents or caregivers.