Sleep schedule issues
Does my child need a schedule and what is appropriate? How many naps should my baby have? How many hours a day should my toddler sleep? What is an appropriate bedtime for my child? Is it time to drop a nap and how do I do it?
Children's rhythms are different from ours and adjusting to each other is not always easy. Newborns sleep for short stretches at seemingly random times. Their sleep-wake cycles depend on how long they are able to stay awake rather than on the time of the day. By the time children are one, it becomes relatively easy to establish a predictable schedule. What happens during the first year varies a lot, however, and depends on both the child's temperament and parents' preferences. Some babies (they are a minority) are quite irregular and don't nap at the same time every day no matter how hard you try to make things consistent. Others just fall into a rhythm by themselves. Some parents prefer to be able to plan things around steady nap and bed times. Other parents find it easier to go along with the child's preferences -- also an understandable strategy considering how fast the need for sleep and the ability to stay awake change during the first year.
In fact, these changes are so fast that sometimes it is difficult to keep up and adjust accordingly. Not making appropriate adjustments in the schedule may lead to sleep problems. For example, a six month old may need to nap three times a day, but a twelve month old only needs two or maybe even one nap a day. If a twelve month old sleeps three times during the day, parents will find it very difficult to put the child to bed in the evening, or they may find that the child is awake for several hours in the middle of the night.
If you have questions related to your child's schedule and sleep needs, book a consultation to talk things over.