UPDATED: Helping your child fall and stay asleep

UPDATED: Helping your child fall and stay asleep

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital hosts free classes called "ParentingU." The latest seminar, held Wednesday night, aimed to help parents and their kids get some much-needed rest.

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A frequent complaint from parents to pediatricians is about children having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

COMMON COMPLAINTS

  • “My kid won’t settle down.”
  • “My kid doesn’t go to bed at the desired bedtime.”
  • “My kid is hard to wake up in the morning.”
  • “My kid is falling asleep at school.”
  • “My kid is having behavior problems or moodiness because of not sleeping at night.”
  • “My kid is a restless sleeper.”
  • “My kid snores.”

Dr. Jessica Brown, DO, MPH, a pediatric pulmonologist and sleep specialist, who co-hosted the pediatric sleep class called "ParentingU: A to Zzz's", shared some tips to address sleep problems for kids of all age groups, from infants to teenagers.

INFANTS

"When an infant doesn't sleep, a parent doesn't sleep," said Dr. Brown.

She says infants should be put to sleep drowsy, but awake, so they can learn to self-soothe. Infants and younger children often have behavior association sleep-onset problems, meaning they're trained to fall asleep with certain conditions met.

"Parents may rock their child to sleep, feed the baby to sleep or hold the baby until falling asleep. If the baby wakes up, expect crying because they'll need those same conditions met to get back to sleep."

OLDER KIDS

Older kids with sleep problems tend to struggle because of sleep delay, due to altered bed times or more electronics. Dr. Brown emphasized, "More electronics make sleep worse."

Sleep problems for older kids can often be solved with limit-setting. "Sometimes parents have a hard time limiting requests, 'One more kiss. One more bedtime story,'" said Dr. Brown.

She added that when kids are out of school, including weekends, different bed time routines can interrupt sleep habits.

Dr. Brown, along with Dr. Ashley Lucas, will shared "Helpful tips for good sleep habits" during the Parenting U class, as well as discussed a variety of other sleep issues.

SLEEP TIPS FOR GOOD SLEEP HABITS

  • Same bedtime schedule is key
  • Bedtime routine is a must
  • Putting infants and children to bed drowsy, but awake
  • Bed is for sleep only
  • Keep TV out of the bedroom
  • No electronics before bedtime
  • No caffeine after lunch
  • No intense exercise or play before bedtime

The class offered parents remedies to help their children create good sleep practices, as well as answer other parents questions.

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSIONS

  • Safe sleep crib environment
  • Sudden unexplained infant death
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Night terrors, sleep walking and snoring
  • Rules for sleep medication and melatonin

The ParentingU classes are for parents only. They are free and open to the public.

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