If my child doesn't want to sleep

The child has been in bed for the last hour and is supposed to sleep. But sleep is unthinkable, it keeps calling for his parents. They are already annoyed after all they wanted to put their legs up and watch the movie. A situation that every mother and father knows, no matter how old the offspring is. Frequent awakening at night can also be stressful for children and parents.

There are many reasons for such sleep disorders, depending on age, type of sleep, psyche and child's state of health. But most children are healthy. The most common reason for a child's sleep disturbances are false expectations of the parents, which arise because they do not know what their children's needs and peculiarities are.

For example, it is normal for a one-year-old child to sleep twelve hours at night. But which a child is already in the norm? Some one year olds sleep 13 to 14 hours and others get by with 9 to 10 hours. If parents keep a child who only needs little sleep in bed for longer than necessary, the sleep disorder is pre-programmed. It has trouble with falling asleep in the evening, wakes up at night and / or is already awake again in the early morning. The need for sleep is a constant factor. The midday nap should also be taken into account. If a child sleeps a lot during the day, it takes less to sleep at night. However, you can shorten your child's midday nap. For this you need patience and you have to change your child to a shorter nap for 7 to 14 days.

Just as the duration of sleep varies from person to person, so does the sleep. There are the morning people's children: they want to go to bed in the evening, but they are upbeat again in the early hours. Then there are the night owl kids. They stay up late in the evening because they don't feel tired yet. Putting up a bed can be a problem for parents. But if they give in again and again, such children always go to bed later, sleep longer in the morning, which leads to them getting tired later the next evening. Parents should always try to bring their children to bed at the same time. This is the only way the children can build up an inner daily rhythm. However, you cannot reeducate your child. Because the sleep type and the need to sleep are inherited characteristics. They vary from person to person.

However, sleep patterns change over the life. In the first two to four weeks of life, sleep and waking periods are distributed throughout the day. The infant starts to prepare for a change of day and night. Sleep behavior becomes more even. From about the third month onwards, children sleep or wake up only once. This depends on the brain maturation. However, one can support falling asleep by introducing goodnight rituals. A regular daily routine with regular times for the meal, walking and sleeping are also like clocks for the child, helping him to find his rhythm and sleep through it. The signal for sleep can be set through goodnight rituals: You can already read to babies in the evening, sing or pray to them, turn off the light and maybe turn on the music box.

But how should one behave if one has done everything right and the child still screams? It is important for parents to see why their child is screaming. Is it hungry? Does it want attention? Does it hurt? These are the three crucial questions, "says paediatrician Dr. Seidel from Worms, who also advised the concerned parents on the project" Viva familia - Service Centre for Local Alliances "in the LZG.

If you take the child up and let him or her calm down, this can be an important hint that a child needs attention. If you can calm a child repeatedly, then you can also let it scream a little longer and not always come with every beep.

If the child cannot be calmed down, there may be a medical reason behind it. The "three-month colic" that infants can torture day and night for a few months. It is also normal for a child to scream when a new tooth breaks through. This only takes one to a few days. Viral infections of the upper respiratory tract are also normal in the first year of life. Respiratory distress, earaches and abdominal pain often make children wake up at night. Take the sick child to bed if he or she suffers.

Even older children can wake up at night due to infection. However, enlarged tonsils and polyps can also cause breathing problems and sleep disturbance. Many children show this by snoring. Respiratory problems can reach as far as sleep apnea where the child stops breathing for seconds and then startles out of sleep. Go to the pediatrician if your child wakes up for weeks at night or snores.

In school children, it is then the psyche that can lead to sleep disorders. The flood of stimuli with television, computer and PlayStation is the priority. Here too, rest in the last hour of the evening and sleeping-in rituals help you fall asleep.

Copyright: Landeszentrale fuer Gesundheitsfoerderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. (LZG) Germany