It is common for children to experience sleep problems throughout the different stages of development. Many of these sleep issues are normal and children will eventually outgrow them. However, some sleep issues can be prolonged and cause excessive fatigue as well as make it difficult for a child to function throughout the day. Some of these problems may include: waking excessively in the night, not falling asleep in a timely manner, problematic sleep-onset associations (e.g. needing a certain toy in order to fall asleep), separation issues from parents (e.g. not wanting to sleep alone), non-compliance with bedtime routine, significant difficulty waking in the morning, or night terrors. Not only can sleep problems cause sleep deprivation issues in children, they can also cause sleep deprivation issues in parents as they are often forced to interact with the child throughout the night.
Sleep deprivation can lead to serious problems. For example, the part of the brain that helps people to control their actions and responses to feelings is affected greatly by lack of sleep. Thus, sleep deprived children (and parents) have more trouble controlling their emotions. Additionally, not getting enough sleep can lead to issues in children such as behavior problems, attention problems, and poor performance in school. Therapists at Silber Psychological Services teach behavioral strategies to help children comply with bedtime routines, sleep independently, sleep longer hours, as well as work through a variety of other sleep problems. We use strategies and do not solely adhere to the “cry it out” method. We will work with your family to determine which strategies will be most effective to meet the needs of your family.