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Defining a Sleep Problem

  • Is your child relatively happy most of the day?
  • Is your child able to play independently for an appropriate period of time?
  • When your child wakes up from a nap or morning time, does she seem to be rested?
  • Is your child healthy?
  • Does your child easily adapt to new situations/environments?

If you can answer, yes, to the majority of these questions then you can feel confident that your child’s sleep needs are being met. All children are unique so their individual sleep needs can differ from one child to the next. This is why it is important to ask yourself these questions before assuming your child has a problem.

Your child could be the only one on the block, playgroup or school who takes short naps or stopped taking naps much earlier than the majority of other children.. But, does that mean that your child has a sleeping problem? No! Remember that every child has unique needs. You, as her parent, have to be the judge to know if your child's sleep needs are being met.

If you suspect your child does have a sleeping problem consider the following:

  • If your child snores, you need to mention this to your pediatrician so that he can rule out any medical problems.
  • If your child is under 3-4 months of age, are you expecting too much from your child? * Sleep/wake rhythms during the day do not develop until 4+ months after the EED (expected date of delivery) and possibly 6-9 months for post-colic infants. (Basically saying that if the rhythms are not well developed yet then trying to create a schedule might be asking the impossible) How to provide the best sleep for your baby in the meantime, go to Sleep Needs: 2-3 months and learn about how to optimize your baby's sleeping.
  • If your child is 4+ months and her naps are very short and irregular and/or wakes up at night for other than feedings/diaper changes. Go to Sleep Needs: 4-8 months and learn about how you can start following your baby's natural sleep rhythms.
  • If your child is 4+ months and you are having trouble creating a schedule, consider controlling the wake time, to 7am. For more info go to above link.
  • If your child is older than 9 months of age and is waking up consistently at night, consider how her sleep habits are during the day and adjust the bedtime earlier. If the naps are not good, try visiting Sleep Needs: 8-15 months.

The most common cause of night waking in older children is too late a bedtime. Could this be the case? Sometimes, depending on how the naps are for the child an 8pm bedtime might be a little bit too late for her. Go to Bedtime Issues