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How a Parent’s Deployment Affects the Family’s Sleep

Active duty is, of course, difficult for the person who is serving in the military—he or she is far from home, often in a dangerous place, and dealing with a lot of stress and physical demands. But the deployment can also be tough on the family members who are left at home. When someone is deployed, the person’s spouse often reports having poorer sleep quality compared with when the whole family is together. And compared with the general population, spouses of deployed service members are likelier to sleep fewer than seven hours a night. (The recommended amount is seven to nine hours a night.) It isn’t just the grown-ups who are affected, either. Kids can…

Five Tips for Getting Your Kids Out of Bed for School

Summer is coming to a close, which means that your kids will soon have to snap back to reality. Their relaxed routines of June, July, and August are about to be replaced with an early wake-up call Monday through Friday. Want to make the transition as smooth as possible? Follow these five tips. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute. It takes about a week to easily go from sleeping in late to waking up bright and early. Start by gradually moving your child’s wake-up time earlier in 15-minute or 30-minute increments each night, depending on how much shifting needs to happen. And while you’re figuring out bedtimes, make sure that your kids are getting the…

Transition Your Kid's Bedtime for Back to School

The first-day outfit is picked out, the pencils are sharpened, and the new backpack is ready to go by the front door. But before you and your family jump into the new school year, make sure that you’ve tackled your child’s sleep schedule, too. After a summer of late nights and laid-back mornings, it’s likely that your kid could use help adjusting to the earlier bedtimes and wake-up calls. Not only will this lead to fewer “I don’t want to get out of bed!” fights, but it’s important for your child’s learning: Even just 25 minutes of less sleep per night can lead to lower grades, and insufficient rest has also been linked to fatigue…

What is SIDS?

You’ve probably heard of SIDS, but you may not know exactly what it stands for: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It’s actually a subset of something called SUID, which is short for Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. Every year in the United States, around 3,500 infants die from SUID, and 1,500 of those deaths are caused by SIDS. SIDS happens when an infant (a baby who is younger than one year old) dies while asleep and a thorough investigation can’t determine the cause. Often it’s believed that suffocation is the cause, but autopsy tests can’t say with certainty whether or not that’s true. Instead, investigators look for signs that could cause suffocation, like soft bedding or the…

Best Lullabies for Kids

Sometimes, little ones love bedtime, but other times, sending a baby off to dreamland requires feeding, swaddling, or singing a sweet bedtime song to the baby. But what should you sing, exactly? These five classic lullabies are a good place to start. Softly croon or hum one of them and you’ll soothe your upset baby in no time. Hush, Little Baby: This humorous song is basically about the power of bribery. It lists all the wonderful gifts that a baby will receive from his mom—as long as there are no tears at bedtime. Hush, little baby, don’t way a word Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird And if that mockingbird don’t sing Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond…

Sleep Problems That Keep Kids Up at Night

Any parent knows that a child’s bedtime troubles don’t end after he moves out of the crib. Kids of all ages can have trouble sleeping through the night for a variety of reasons—some of which may surprise you. Identifying the root cause of your little one’s sleep issues can help the whole family get better rest. To help you get started, read on for five reasons why kids may lie awake at night. Wetting the Bed Middle-of-the-night accidents are fairly common (15 percent of children will wet the bed by age five). They can be caused by genetics, a small bladder, constipation, sleeping very deeply, and, in rare cases, an underlying medical condition. While accidents…

Keep Your Child on a Sleep Schedule During the Holidays

As cute as seasonal jammies are, the holidays can do a number on kids’ sleep routines. With school on a hiatus, migrating meal schedules, and family and friends pouring on exciting new toys and treats, it can be tempting to give up on getting your child to sleep until the New Year’s confetti settles. But unless you want the Grinch at your holiday table—not to mention major sleep wars when school starts again—it’s best not to throw all healthy habits to the wind. Learn how to help your little one get more zzz’s, while still letting him or her enjoy all the hoopla. Be Realistic With Your Plans. Kids can be adaptable—to a point. But…

The Summer (Sleep) Slide

You’ve probably heard of the “summer slide” in academic learning—the tendency for kids to fall behind in reading and math skills on summer vacation. The summer sleep slide is real, too. Without the structure of school, kids tend to stay up later—sometimes much later—and not sleep in consistently enough to make up for it. Rather than spend the summer catching up on sleep, kids can accumulate sleep debt that affects their health, mood, and ability to learn. In our house—with a 7 and 3-year-old—we’re trying to balance the joy and freedom of long summer nights, with the reality of two little kids’ sizable sleep needs. We visit with friends, we go out for dinner or to…

Summertime Sleep Schedules for Kids

Three ways to ensure summer vacation doesn’t negatively impact your child’s sleep In my clinical practice parents often complain about how difficult it can be to maintain a consistent sleep schedule in the summer. With long days, children will often wake early with the sun, and few children want to go to bed when it is still light out (especially when they could be playing outside!). It is very easy to get off schedule during the summer without the routine of school and with the added distractions of long days and vacations. If a child does not need to wake for summer camp or other activities, then a later bedtime and wake time is…

Traveling With Baby? Don’t Leave Home Without These 5 Tips.

Follow these 5 easy suggestions to make travel a breeze Traveling with a baby can be a nerve-racking endeavor, and almost every new parent feels a little anxious about how it will go. Meltdowns mid-flight, skipped feedings, excessive amounts of gear and over-stuffed diaper bags—there’s a lot to think (read: worry) about. One of the top concerns for parents is how a trip will throw off their child’s well-honed sleep schedule. At home the environment is controlled, the routines are consistent, and the sleep times set. When you’re traveling, this can all go out the window. But if you’re prepared, it doesn’t have to. Nothing feels worse than a sleep-deprived family on the road, so keep…