Delaying bedtimes ‘can help youngsters sleep’

Using "bedtime fading" techniques can ensure children get enough sleep without the need for an afternoon siesta.

Using “bedtime fading” techniques can ensure children get enough sleep without the need for an afternoon siesta.

Parents have been advised to push back bedtimes for youngsters when trying to coax them off needing afternoon naps.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Judith A Owens, an associate professor of paediatrics at Brown University, explained how often completely removing naps can leave little ones overtired.

Instead, she suggested using a technique called “bedtime fading”, which can slowly phase out the need for afternoon slumber, while ensuring children get enough rest.

“If skipping the nap leaves them cranky in the early evening, one option is to delay bedtime so they are actually tired when they go to bed,” Professor Owens advised.

This way, once youngsters are used to the idea of staying awake throughout the day, adults can then return the sleeping time to normal, so their offspring stay in bed all night without disruptions.

For those concerned about older children who constantly wake in the night, boston.com’s agony aunt suggested parents discuss with the child what is causing them to struggle to drift off.

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