Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
147
Ten False Beliefs About Children’s Sleep (6-10)
September 4, 2023

Found in age groups

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Introduction

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.

Blog 147Ten False Beliefs About Children’s Sleep (6-10)

Some parents do not recognize or accept the fact that they are causing sleep problems in their child.  For example, they might usually keep their child up a little too late but do not appreciate that this late bedtime is creating sleep problems in their child. Instead, they make false excuses for their child’s sleep problems and/or ‘treat’ the sleep problem with the latest fad remedy, such as melatonin (Blog Post 143). 

At every age, there is a handy excuse available to parents to distract them from their own accountability.  Some parents use extreme fussiness/colic (birth–6 months), teething (6–12 months), separation anxiety (12–24 months), “terrible twos” (24–36 months), and fears (36–48 months) to falsely ‘explain’ why their child is not sleeping well instead of reflecting on their own behavior.  

Also, some parents may strongly believe in popular, but false ideas, regarding sleep problems in children. Here are some examples of false beliefs:

Fake News 6: ACQUIRING A NEW MOTOR SKILL Disrupts Sleep

I routinely asked the mothers in my practice who were pediatric Physical Therapists or pediatric Psychologists if they were aware of the belief that when a child achieves a new motor skill (sitting without support, standing alone without support, walking freely without support, and so forth), the child’s sleep is disrupted.  They all said “Yes”.  Then I asked them, did this occur with your child?  They all said ‘No”. 

Fake News 7: MY CHILD IS AN ‘OWL’; Late Betimes are OK

Based on melatonin measurements, all young children are ‘larks’.  

See: Blog Post 70

Fake News 8: “IT’S A PHASE”; My Child Will Outgrow Sleep Problems

Some children, especially with mild to moderate sleep issues might, or might not, sleep better when older.  More severe sleep issues persist and/or cause mental health problems later. Some busy childcare providers who don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining or talking about normal baby fussiness or sleeping problems shut down the parents’ concerns by saying, “It’s only a phase, it’ll pass.”  

See: Blog Posts 76 and 124

Fake News 9: DREAM FEEDS Help My Child Sleep through the night.

Sleep comes from the brain, not the stomach.  Children born with birth defects of the stomach or gut must be fed slowly and continuously to grow before surgery is attempted.  They are never “hungry” in the middle of the night, but they have normal night awakenings just like children who are intermittently fed.  They awaken at night because they have normal light sleep phases that reflect the brain’s output for sleep.

See: Blog Post 144

Fake News 10: BED SHARING IS BEST; I Will Be Better Bonded to My Child

See: Blog Post 82

Bed sharing is not safe; see: https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/doi/10.1542/peds.2022-057990/188304/Sleep-Related-Infant-Deaths-Updated-2022

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