==========English version, translated by ChatGpt=======
Infant and toddler sleep problems are common, with about 1 in 4-5 children affected, and the prevalence is even higher in Asian countries. Here's a summary of relevant articles and tips from my blog to help parents manage their children's sleep issues.
1. **Establish Appropriate Routines and Bedtimes**
- Children who are overly tired tend to wake up more at night. While it's important for children to have physical activities during the day, excessive tiredness isn't beneficial. Allowing short naps during the day, combined with a slightly earlier bedtime, can improve night-time sleep.
2. **Try Establishing a Comfort Object**
- Comfort objects, such as a favorite doll, blanket, or toy, can provide a sense of security and help the child fall back asleep if they wake up at night. However, not all children can easily form an attachment to a comfort object, and preferences may change over time. - Typically, infants develop attachments to specific items around 8-12 months, continuing until about 3 years old, then gradually decreasing, usually disappearing before starting school. - Introduce the comfort object during pleasant times, like feeding or playing, and gradually increase its presence. A good time to use it is during the bedtime routine.
3. **Appropriate Bedtime Rituals**
- Numerous studies have shown that bedtime rituals improve sleep problems. The ritual should be consistent each night without much variation. The duration isn't critical and can be adjusted according to the child's daily energy and mood. Avoid making feeding the last part of the bedtime ritual.
4. **Suitable Sleeping Environment**
- The sleeping room should have controlled noise, brightness, and temperature, with minimal changes in decor. It's best if the child sleeps in the same bed consistently. Ensure a safe sleeping environment with minimal objects in the bed. Parents should avoid using electronic devices like smartphones during bedtime, as the blue light can delay melatonin secretion and distract the child.
5. **Put the Child to Bed Slightly Awake**
- The most crucial step is allowing the child to develop the ability to fall asleep independently. After the bedtime routine, give the child a chance to transition from being awake to asleep. A child without sleep issues typically falls asleep within 30 minutes.
What to Do if the Child Wakes Up at Night?
- Initially, continue using the usual comforting methods (patting, holding, rocking) for quick sleep. If frequent night awakenings persist after 3-4 weeks, and the child is not experiencing any physical discomfort, consider implementing sleep training (link 1). - Record and observe the timing and nature of night awakenings, as night terrors are common in toddlers and preschool children.
If a child over 6 months old has unstable sleep (more than 3 nights per week) for over 3 months, parents should consider making the above adjustments to improve sleep quality.