Sleep Problems in Kids - #AskTheMayoMom

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I'm dr. Angela Mackey I am a general

pediatrician here in Rochester Minnesota

and I think more importantly since we're

doing the ask the Mayo mom segment I am

a mom of two active boys I have a six

month old and I have a three year old

and I'd have to say that right now I'm

living and breathing sleep problems in

my practice I think the number one

question that parents come to me about

is about sleep problems that they're

having with their young children and and

that is not the exception in our house

as well

the biggest question about that I get is

when compared and start start sleep

training and is it okay for them to let

their their infants learn to how to

self-soothe on their own and the answer

to that is yes absolutely it's okay and

somewhere between four and six months of

age is when most pediatricians will say

that it's acceptable to let them start

to self-soothe after about four to six

months of age there really isn't a

reason that they need to eat

physiologically at night they don't need

it for their brain they don't need it

for their glucose levels they should be

able to go at least eight hours at night

without feeding and so the next question

that parents have is is this gonna

affect my child emotionally if I allow

them to cry a little bit or learn to

calm themselves down and put themselves

back to sleep and my my answer would be

no it's not going to affect their bond

with you at all it won't affect their

emotional connection it won't affect the

development and we've actually have good

research on that that is actually

studied this and I think that's can be

reassuring at least to me as a parent as

well to be able to say you know what

you know they've studied this these kids

do well they're just as well attached to

their parents they do as well in social

settings as other kids so if it's

something that you and your family feels

comfortable with it's completely

acceptable to do and so right now I'm

getting up the courage to start that

myself with my six-month-old and letting

him to put himself back to sleep a

little bit more instead of always

needing me to kind of come in and

that's all there other questions that I

get are related to sleep are one of what

to do with the kid that wakes up at

night and wants to come into your

bedroom I think the first question you

need to decide is that's is that

something that you're okay with do you

want your child to be sleeping in your

bed with you and if that is something

that you're comfortable with then then

can you can certainly continue to do

that but if it's if your goal is to get

your child to be able to go back to

sleep on their own and stay in their

home in bed and then there are some some

techniques and things that we can do to

kind of help coach you in your child to

get to that point

some things that work really well and

children in general are using just

positive reinforcements and praise and

encouragement when we tend to use

negative reinforcements and children it

usually does not work as well for the

general outcome that you want and your

kids will have more negative

associations with it so your child is

getting up at night coming into your

bedroom you can start by maybe making a

sticker chart and talking to them about

every night that you stay in your own

bed you could get a sticker and you

ultimately are working towards a goal

for them including your child in those

goals and helping them to determine

things that they're working for could

really help with the engagement process

be more successful long-term some other

things you can do is really talk to them

before the bed time happens before

they're tired and they have less ability

to kind of use coping on their own so

spending time talking about it during

the daytime saying let's see we're gonna

practice stayin on our bed tonight

instead of waiting until they're overly

tired before bedtime other things that

can really help is making sure you're

getting your child to bed with a good

bedtime routine now I know just as well

as everyone at bedtime is usually pretty

chaotic in those houses but trying to

have a regular time that you all start

to unwind is really important other

things that can make bedtime more

difficult is watching a lot of screen

time before bedtime

we know that watching screen time such

as being on tablets computers video

games are

on their TVs can really activate part of

the brain and makes it harder for them

to relax and unwind that night so really

trying to at least the hour before

bedtime no spend time also trying to

engage in activities that are kind of

calming for them so just telling stories

or reading books together taking baths

and having you know quiet music on

instead of running around the house

playing take and and having dance

parties and stuff like that trying to

you know set expectations in advance

like I said before is also really

helpful I've got a question here from

one of our viewers is 7:30 to 7:45 a

good bedtime for a four-year-old sure I

think it all depends on what time they

are getting up in the morning so a lot

of a four-year-old should have about 12

hours of sleep on average throughout the

day and that's a wide spectrum so normal

can be anywhere from 10 to 14 hours and

so if they're going to bed at 7:30 and

they're getting up at 6 7 o'clock that

seems completely appropriate I think you

have to base it on how your child acts

are they tired in the morning when they

get up are they tired throughout the

daytime if that's the case then maybe

moving the bed time up a little bit the

best way to move the bed time up is move

it up by about 15 minutes every couple

nights to get to your goal bedtime so

instead of making a huge adjustment kids

can slowly kind of readjust they're in

their sleep Clark

so this will get better the first thing

you need to do is just be consistent

about it trying not to engage your too

much when she wakes up at 3 or 4 o'clock

in the morning so keeping the lights low

not trying to smile and play in sing

songs and those sort of things if your

goal is to try to get her back to bed

the first thing I want to know is is if

the family is comfortable with letting

her kind of play in her crib on her own

and seeing if she will fall back and

sleep sometimes it can take very long


parents will use kind of progressively

letting them be on their own a little

bit longer each night increasing it by

about five minutes or so some families

will do the cold turkey approach where

they let them kind of bus in their own

they'll check on them from the door make

sure that they're okay and Thursday

defying the leave alone I think that's

certainly fine approach to do whatever

you decide to do if you have a partner

that you are that lived at home with you

that would be best to kind of talk

together figure out what your approach

is and then stick to it I think the

hardest thing is is in the moment being

feeling weak and saying oh I'm gonna go

in and and you know go pick my child up

and we're gonna go downstairs it's my

bed so once you kind of break whatever

your plan was going forward you kind of

have to start all over