Our healthcare model  is a sick care system that treats symptoms and gives you pills. While protocols are helpful for a lot of folks. There are many patients falling through the cracks. Or working and living paycheck to paycheck. Not leaving much room to go to the doctor. When polled parents stated they do feel they have the time or money to take care of themselves.  They explain away the symptom and chalk it up to stress and lack of sleep.

While that is probably true or body gives us warning signs. Lack of sleep is one of them in both kids and adults. Our body repairs and restores itself during sleep if we are getting the sleep it requires. I am going to say 50% of the population is not.

No pain does not mean no problem. There are signs we really need to listen to our bodies and not make excuses as to why we are not sleeping, breathing and being able to be fully present in the moment.

A new national poll reveals a growing trend among parents of young children to turn to social media for advice for alternative ways to find answers on various parenting challenges, particularly in managing their children’s sleep.

According to the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health four in five parents say they go to social media to discuss parenting issues. The most common discussions included toilet training (44%), getting kids to sleep (42%), nutrition/breastfeeding (37%), discipline (37%), behavior problems (33%), vaccination (26%), daycare/preschool (24%), and getting along with other kids (21%).

Nearly half of parents state social media is a very useful for getting new ideas to try.

Many parents turn to online communities to exchange advice or discuss parenting challenges because it may seem faster and easier than asking a health professional, Finding parents with similar concerns can have it benefits, but parents should keep in mind that every family’s experience is different and not everything they hear online may be accurate or the right thing for their child. I say always listen to your gut instinct as a Mom. It will not let you down if you truly listen and do not question youself.

Parents say they talk about these topics on social media because they want to hear different ideas, it’s convenient or they want to do things differently than their parents. A few said they don’t have enough opportunities to ask their child’s healthcare provider, or are too embarrassed to ask in person.

Many parents state social media is useful for making them feel like they’re not alone and learning what not to do, while helping them decide whether to buy certain products.

Telehealth visits and messaging through patient portals are efficient ways for parents to ask for guidance and determine if the child needs to be seen in person.  

Sharing Concerns

Nearly 80% of parents also feel other parents overshare on social media by bragging about their child or sharing too often or too much. I experienced this when my daughter was little and I stopped sharing as much. Some parents think it’s difficult to distinguish good versus bad advice on social media. There are so many opinions these days.

Particularly for first-time parents, access to so many sources may be both helpful and overwhelming.  But it’s up to them to verify the accuracy in what they’re hearing.

There are so many decisions to make about the best way to care for children during the infant and toddler years. Social media is a convenient way for parents to seek information about parenting challenges in real-time, especially in between checkups. 

It’s important to identify reputable sources of information about children’s health before attempting new strategies with their own child.

If you are a parent of a young child, sleep may well have become an obsession for you. My daughter was wetting the bed and I was told she would outgrow it. Social media and google helped me find answers I was not getting from my doctors. This is why I am so passionate about sharing now. 

Toddlers often wake frequently during the night. Sleep deprivation is a real issue both for parents and children. And parents are often asked – and judged – about their child’s habits. Sleep deprivation leads to behavior problems and I felt very judged when we were struggling with this topic.

It’s no wonder that there is a boom in this industry providing parents with books, courses and advice on how to get their children to sleep better. But often there is contradictory advice.

I recommend staying focused on the needs of your child, and finding techniques that reward desired behavior and prioritize healthy habits and consistent routines.

Be clear of outcomes and expectations for both you and your children to create lasting sustainable habits.

Sleep was an issue for us. There were things that were disrupting my daughter’s sleep that were out of the norm. I knew when I put her down if it was going to be a good night by how the room felt.

Co-sleeping – children sleeping in the same bed as their parent – means that parents can meet their child’s needs during the night as they would be met during the day, by connecting with them and offering cuddles and being emotionally available. This approach, however, may not be particularly helpful to parents who struggle to get enough sleep when sharing a bed with a child, or who feel they need some time alone.

Some children need light, some need dark. Again you know your child best. Sleep routines are very important to establish consistency for circadian rhythm and sleep cycles.

Constant availability from a parent – maintaining the “powerful biological connection between you and your baby” – is also recommended in Pinky McKay’s 2006 gentle parenting book Sleeping Like a Baby. This advice comes alongside examples of the negative results of not responding to infant wakes for children later in life. In one quote, a mother says: “I feel devastated that I have betrayed my child.”

There are so many opinions on this. As a mom whose child struggled, do what feels right to you. Ask advice sure but I was told to let my daughter cry. I tried that one night and we were both traumatized. She was seeing things in her room before she could speak. I could feel them when I put her to bed. Whether you believe in spirits or not. What we were experiencing was not in a parenting book.  Disrupted sleep is not something to mess with. I say this alot but follow your instincts.

This was our experience as parents. Our own feelings and experiences with managing – or failing to manage – sleep were very much entwined how things felt on any given night. We tried to implement advice from others, failed, and then found our own ways through.

The management of children’s sleep as well as other concerns are treated as a one-size-fits-all solution. But children – and their parents – are individuals with their own needs and beliefs. Advice on improving sleep should be approached with caution; we cannot make a child sleep.There are so many factors that affect sleep quality in children including genetics, sleep habits, medical problems, parents/caregiver thoughts, screen time, room temperature, hunger, routine, comfort, safety, self soothing, breathing, the child’s emotions and environment.

Sleep is an essential building block for your child’s mental and physical health. But if you’re finding it impossible to help your child sleep, you’re not alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that sleep problems affect 25 to 50 percent of children and 40 percent of adolescents.

 A typical bedtime routine might include:

  • Turning off computers, TV screens, video games, and other lights
  • Putting on pajamas and brushing teeth
  • Reading a light book, singing a lullaby, or taking a bath

Sleep Hygiene Tips for Kids

Daytime habits also affect sleep. How they breathe during the day will be how they breathe at night. Acess to see if they are nasal breathing or mouth breathing.

  • Keeping a regular bedtime
  • Making the bedroom comfy, and especially the  mattress and pillows, a no-screen time
  • Eating healthy and not right before bed
  • Setting the thermostat to a slightly cooler temperature
  • Using dark curtains to block out light, or a nightlight if they’re scared of the dark
  • Keeping the bedroom quiet, or using a white noise machine to mask outside sounds
  • Avoiding caffeine, large meals, and sugary treats before bedtime, opting for a healthy bedtime snack if necessary
  • Practicing nasal hygiene before bed so they can breathe better.
  • Keeping pet out of the room or off the bed if they have allergies

50% of children suffer from sleep disorders.

Night Terrors and Nightmares

Nightmares can be frightening for toddlers, who have a harder time distinguishing what’s real and what’s not. Children often wake up from nightmares, which usually occur during REM sleep. If this happens, offer them reassurance and gently put them back to sleep.

Night Terrors, otherwise known as sleep terrors, are a parasomnia that occurs early in the night during non-REM sleep in about one-third of children 

Your child may scream and bolt upright during a night terror, but they won’t usually wake up or remember the incident in the morning. The best thing you can do is make sure your child is safe, trying to keep them in bed if possible. 

There’s no need to wake them up or worry if your child experiences the occasional night terror, but if they become very frequent or if they’re causing daytime sleepiness, they’re worth mentioning to your pediatrician. 

Sleep Talking and Sleepwalking

Sleep Talking is a relatively common parasomnia involving vocalizations during sleep. Sleep talking appears to occur more frequently during light sleep, so proper sleep hygiene may help reduce episodes. While harmless on its own, sleep talking may disturb other people in the bedroom. It is sometimes connected to other sleep disorders.

If your child sleepwalks, it’s a good idea to safety-proof their bedroom and install an alarm. Waking someone up about half an hour before their regular sleepwalking episode occurs has proven useful.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Just like adults, it’s common for children to snore occasionally. Snoring or grinding may be caused by swollen tonsils or adenoids, allergies, obesity, secondhand smoke, or other factors. However, if you notice your child snoring excessively, or displaying pauses in breathing followed by gasps, they may have sleep apnea.

Children with sleep apnea suffer from disrupted breathing which prompts them to not necessarily wake up but have arousals multiple times during the night, often without them realizing. The first clue that something may be wrong is when you notice your child displaying signs of sleep deprivation, such as daytime sleepiness, difficulty waking, concentrating, and hyperactivity. Frequent snoring and sleep apnea can both have ill effects on your child’s health and cause disruptions to other members of the family. 

Restless Legs Syndrome

Characterized by an irrepressible urge to move the legs, restless legs syndrome in children and adults.

It can be difficult to identify. You may think your child is simply fidgeting or suffering from growing pains. Treatment of nighttime restless leg syndrome in children includes proper sleep hygiene and stretching before bed. Iron supplements have proven useful in treating adults, but research is still being conducted into the safety and efficacy of iron supplements for children.

If you think your child may be suffering from one of these sleep disorders, keep track of the symptoms in a sleep diary, record your child sleeping 90 minutes after they fall asleep. Are they sleeping with their mouths open? Do they have dark circles under their eyes?  Talk to a professional about what you are experiencing. Establishing good sleep hygiene habits and eliminating other barriers to proper sleep is the first line of defense in treating many of these conditions. Your child does not grow out of these, they grow into other issues, Anxiety, depression ect.

Be your child advocate. I did not see the signs for years. I listened to the dr say she will outgrow bedwetting. It runs in your family. I wish I knew then what I know now.

Our bodies compensate so well we do not even realize it made a change for us. 

Listen to our body, your instincts for yourself and your family. Self care if not selfish and one size fits all protocols are not the answer. If you don’t pay attention to the signs, who will? The time is  now to start where you are. 

If you have questions I have answers. If I cannot help I will find you someone who can.

Reach out schedule a 15 minute call or Join my Healthy Mouth Moms facebook group 

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