Kids' Sleep Problems: Your Questions, Answered

Kids' Sleep Problems: Your Questions, Answered

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NYMetroParents was thrilled to welcome Ingrid Prueher, better known as The Baby Sleep Whisperer, to our webinar, “30 Minutes to Better Sleep for Your Child--and You!” During this 45-minute online event, parents throughout the New York area received tips about how to instill good sleep habits and routines, how to prevent bad sleep associations, and how to handle sleep issues while potty training and trying to getting multiple children to sleep at the same time.

After the presentation, attendees got to ask Ingrid to share her advice for how to handle their biggest sleep challenges. Below are some of the questions and answers covered in the webinar.

What should I do if my 2.5 year old still wakes up for milk every night at 2, 3 or 4 am? -- Cindy

Ingrid Pruehe: Let’s log.* Jot down how many ounces your child is taking from a bottle and then every night do half an ounce less. When you get down to two ounces, you can stop giving them something to drink. It’s clear they are not waking up to eat, they’re waking up out of habit.

Don’t forget to look at their food intake during the day to make sure they’re getting enough nutrition. That could be another reason for nighttime wakings.

*Editor’s note: Ingrid recommends logging, or writing down, all sleep disturbances or problematic patterns, night after night, so that you can easily identify problems and make strategic decisions about how to handle them.

My five-month-old will only sleep in small place, like a bassinet or a baby wrap. How can I transition to the crib? -- Alexandra

IP: Don’t put the baby in the middle of the crib. What that does is create insecurity. Scoot your baby all the way down to the bottom of the crib so their feet can touch the railings. We want to recreate the womb setting as much as possible. You can angle them slightly so their head is almost touching the railings. As they kick, they will feel the railings. That should help your child feel more secure.

RELATED: Find local behavior and discipline experts.

If they cry, don’t get in the habit of picking them up every time they cry. Work with them--rub their back, stay next to them. Don’t foster the behavior that as soon as they cry you’re just going to remove them from the situation.

Does my 4-year-old need to go to sleep at 8 pm? If he goes to sleep at 10 pm and wakes up at 7 am, is that a problem? --Kendra

If he is sleeping through the night without any wakeups, it’s not broken, so don’t fix it.

But if he’s exhausted at 4 or 5 pm, or he’s having meltdowns between 4 and 6 pm, he might not be getting enough sleep. He might be overtired, but he’s catching his second wind at 8 pm. Or if he’s still napping, his nap might be interfering with his bedtime.

As he gets into school age, a 10 o’clock bedtime will make him over-tired, especially with how intense schools are these days.

My daughter just turned 3. She’s not napping anymore. Should we put her in a toddler bed so she can learn to be independent, or keep her in the crib? --Maxine

A child can be independent whether or not they’re in the crib. If a child is not ready for a bed, it’s like giving a 16-year old the keys to the car before they’ve taken any driving lessons. If a child does not know how to handle the situation of being in a bed, they’ll be like jack-in-the-boxes coming out of the bed all the time. If that’s the case, keep your child in the crib as long as possible.

If you are concerned about them developing enough independence to potty train, know that children can definitely still be potty-trained while they’re in the crib.

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