Is your child cranky at home, acting out in class, or just can't keep still?
Well, the problem could be more than just a case of the 'terrible two's' or signs of a growing teenager.
Pediatricians say these changes could mean your child isn't getting enough sleep. Doctors say even the smallest things can help or hurt their sleep pattern.
The amount of sleep children need changes as they grow.
But doctors say that no matter the age, one thing that should remain the same is a consistent bedtime routine.
One Macon family of five says they've learned having a sleep-friendly environment makes all the difference.
After a nice hot meal and a little bit of playtime, it's time to wind down.
“We typically put our youngest to bed around 7:30 p.m.,” said Lea Anne Walters.
To make sure their babies are ready for the next day, Lea Anne and Jamie Walters made their own sleep time routine.
“We started with JD when he was young and it's just a habit that stuck,” said Jamie Walters.
From putting on pajamas to brushing their teeth, these parents say if one of their kids' sleep pattern is out of whack, they can tell.
“When they play sports, or if we have a nighttime activity and they don't get to bed as early... as the days go on it does make a difference,” said Lea Anne. “It makes a difference about how they're behaving in school.”
Kids show signs of fussiness, hyperactivity, and mood swings if they’re not resting well.
Pediatrician Dana Mayo at Primary Pediatrics says she sees these symptoms in her patients quite often.
“One of the first questions that I ask is... Tell me about your child’s sleep pattern,” said Mayo. “What is your routine at night? How many hours of sleep is your child getting?”
Mayo says it could be that simple. Toddlers need at least 12 hours of sleep including naps, and school aged children need between nine and 11, but no less than 9 hours of sleep.
In addition to having a nighttime routine, doctors say having a sleep friendly environment is just as important.
“You need some quiet time. No screen time 30 minutes before bedtime is what I always recommend,” said Mayo.
Instead of watching TV, Jamie Walters shares bedtime stories before bed.
“They really enjoy it too,” said Jamie.
When story time ends and yawns begin, these little ones hit the hay and dream on.
Mayo also says that sounds can impact your child's sleep as well. Having a white noise machine for your little one can help.
Doctors say positions are also important to improve sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says babies should always sleep on their backs, until they’re old enough to turn over on their own.
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