There is nothing more blissful than the sight of a sleeping baby. But the trouble to get it to sleep is a whole different story.

Most parents are stressed out due to the irregular sleeping pattern their child may exhibit, which leaves the whole family tired and sleep deprived. But every child has a napping style based on his or her personality.

“Sleep is important at all ages as its an essential component of healthy living. Not getting enough sleep each night can affect growth and development of your child,” explains Dr. Carla Emile Slaba, Specialist Pediatrician at Burjeel Medical Center – Al Zeina, Abu Dhabi.

“An irregular sleeping pattern affects a child’s temperament, behaviour, alertness and ability to learn. It has been shown that these children perform more poorly on memory and attention tests,” she adds.

Typically, a baby might take three or four, one-hour naps a day, while others enjoy a two-hour nap every morning and afternoon. Whichever type of napper you’ve got, the goal is for your child to get the refreshing rest they need to help them face the rest of the day with energy.

According to Dr Slaba, toddlers need different amounts of sleep at various ages, but not all toddlers follow this pattern. Ideally the requirements are

At 12 months: Might sleep about 14 hours/day, partly during morning and afternoon naps.

At 12-18 months: The morning nap disappears and is replaced with one longer afternoon nap.

At 24 months: Might sleep 11 to 12 hours at night with a nap in the afternoon lasting 1 to 2 hours.

At 36 months: May sleep about 12 hours at night and may not have a short nap.

As parents are mostly at their wits end trying to set a routine for their child, Dr Slaba offers a few pointers exclusively for Education Finders.

Stick to a routine: like taking warm bath, brushing teeth, reading few pages from a book. Whatever the nighttime ritual, be sure to stick to it so that your child knows what to expect.

Limit the electronic stimulants: Don’t let your child use the computer, the phone or watch TV before bedtime. These electronic screen activities can be stimulating and can interfere with falling and staying asleep.

Keep the room comfortable for sleeping: It should be quiet, dark and cool for a good night’s rest.

Make bedtime special: Set aside a few moments for talking about the day.

Don’t go to bed hungry: If the child asks for a dessert, stick to healthy fruit when it’s close to bedtime.

Avoid caffeine before bedtime like chocolate, bottled tea or sodas.

Maintain the routine daily, even on week-ends or on vacation.

Manage your child’s sleep schedule before going for vacation, as well as during your time away. Bring sleep items that are part of your routine to make the new environment feel more familiar

Burjeel Hospital

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