Sleep Problems in Children

Healthy sleep is very important for both mental and physical development of children. While some children go to bed when they are sleepy, some children have difficulty in going to sleep and need support.

Why do children have trouble falling asleep?

Sleep; It’s a kind of separation. Even some adults seek support by reading, listening to music, or daydreaming before falling asleep. Children, too, look for things to help them transition to sleep; hugging a favorite toy, playing with her hair, listening to a lullaby, etc. as.

Most of the children, with their fear of the dark before going to sleep, make requests to their parents such as “Can you put me to bed”, “Stay with me until I fall asleep”, “Can you read a book to me”, “Keep the light on”, so they seek support for themselves. After the age of 8-9, children can sleep alone, needing less support. The child’s ego gradually develops and strengthens, and if there is a healthy development process, these fears will be left behind with age. It is very important to discover what comforts your child during this process. This need should not be ignored and answers should not be given such as “You have become a big child, what a fairy tale every night”, “You sleep alone, I don’t need to stand next to you”, “You are grown up now, you can go to your room alone and go to bed”, and the support they need should be provided at that moment.

Night awakenings, difficulty in going to sleep, night nightmares, traumas (earthquake, thief, abuse, illness, etc.), watching horror movies, listening to scary stories, family arguments, unrest, parent quarrels are among the factors that make it difficult for the child to fall asleep. Children with separation anxiety who are overly dependent on their parents may also avoid sleeping alone.

 

How should a child with sleep problems be treated?

First, let’s look at some of the wrong parenting attitudes.

When your child wakes up crying, turning on the light and holding him in your arms is just as wrong as not going to him when he cries. Sleeping next to him because he cries, or taking him out of his bed and changing his bed reinforces the child’s fear more, so it can cause reinforcement such as “There was something to be afraid of, my mother slept next to me”. Instead, it is necessary to show that you are there when your child cries without getting up from the bed, and to help him/her calm down while he/she is in bed.

Children can sometimes have difficulty sleeping alone due to many different fears. The reasons for these should be determined, the child should be talked to, appropriate solutions should be sought and he should be relieved. If the problem persists, professional support should not be avoided.

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