Child Wellness: Healthy sleep habits
It's uncommon but not unheard of for 8-, 9-, or 10-year-olds to be still sleeping in their parent’s bed. If you are interested in having them sleep in their own room, it starts by having them understand why they are doing it. Marcie Fraser has more.
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According to sleep expert, Dr. Paul Glovinski, a psychologist, sleeping habits are taught.
"In some families, there is co-sleeping and can go on for several years. One needs to plan a transition because it doesn't happen on its own," said Dr. Glovinski Clinical Director at St. Peter’s Sleep Center.
In most cases, an older child sleeping with parents isn't a big problem, but can interfere with relationships if one parent is not in favor of it. The bigger issue is that no one is getting a restful night of sleep.
"When you are getting bigger and there is no more room in the bed, for example because you have grown so much, you are not going to get that sleep you need and you are not going to have the alertness you need at school," said Dr. Glovinski.
The move must be gradual. Begin by setting up a mat in the child’s room. Set up a comfy bedroom.
"A dark and quiet for the bedroom is important. Cool is important, we like to sleep as air temperature is dropping," said Dr. Glovinski.
A little snack can be helpful.
"Milk, tryptophan a little carbohydrate so you are not on an empty stomach, you don't want a big meal you really don't want a big meal," Dr. Glovinski suggests.
The transition may not be easy for the parent or the child. The parents need to be patient; the process may take a few weeks.
And don't get into the habit of leaving the TV on for your child. The abrupt changes in light and volume can interfere with sleeping, but a noise machine with consistent sounds is okay.