Infants Sleeping Patterns

Introduction

Sleeping is a restorative process for the brain and the whole organism, and it is physiologically indispensable to the humans. The lack of sleep can cause bad childrens behavior and attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. A short slumber increases the behavior disorder symptoms. Therefore, to avoid them, parents should ensure the adequate duration of sleep for the children (Lam & Wake, 2003). The particular interest in studying the role of sleep for a child's health and the formation of their cognitive abilities and brain development recently appeared (Schiller, 2010). Thus, the scientists proved that the restful slumber and a set of physiological rhythms of being asleep or awake cause the positive effect on the brain development and the cognitive activity (Lam & Wake, 2003). On the contrary, the defective and inadequate sleep negatively affects the brain development, especially during its early stages. There are recommendations for parents, compliance with which will help them to achieve the most favorable sleep environment for the development of psychological and mental abilities of the child. According to these recommendations, there are some norms of sleep for the infants, which are not always kept. Thus, the aim of the paper is to observe the real children sleep patterns and to compare them with the existing norms to formulate the recommendations for the parents concerning this issue.

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For the observation of the sleep patterns, two infants were chosen. The first baby is a boy, seven months old, whose name is George. George is a fairly large child. His weight is 8.6 kg, and his height is 69 cm. He is still breastfed, but his parents already began giving him the solid food. George is an extremely active and curious child. The second infant is a girl Molly, one year and ten months old. She is, conversely, calm. One can even say that she is a quiet but at the same time very attentive child. Mollys parents make a lot of efforts to feed her, but the food is really not the thing, which she likes. Thus, her weight is 9.8 kg, and her height is 83 cm.

Both children are amenable to dialogue and do not show the fear of people. Both childrens caregivers are their mothers, who occasionally use the babysitting service. George and Molly were physically healthy at the moment of the research and get ill quite rare. The observation started at 00:01 PM on 17.02.2016 and finished at 00:01 PM on 18.02.2016.

Observation Notes

In Table 1, one can see the observation notes concerning the sleeping processes of two children.

Table 1

The Observation Notes for Two Infants

Sleep Features

Infant #1

Infant #2

Location of Sleep

The cot near the parents' bed

The cot near the parents' bed

State on Entering Cot

Asleep

Awake

Sleep period

-daytime:

-night time:

1:05 PM 1:35 PM

7:10 PM 7:15 AM

2:15 PM 4:05 PM

11:05 PM 7:55 AM

Time Slept/Day

12 h 35 m

11 h 40 m

Sleep Aid Used

None

None

Falling Asleep Actions

Suckling

Watching cartoons with the soother in the mouth

Caregiver Intervention

The infant falls asleep and awakens without the caregiver intervention.

The infant falls asleep and awakens without the caregiver intervention.

Analysis

According to the observation, George and Molly have the same sleep location. Both sleep in the cots at the parents beds. George is used to falling asleep near his mother during the breastfeeding. Thus, his parents put him into the crib. On the other hand, Molly climbs into her cot and falls asleep inside without any conflict. Both infants sleep two times a day, namely for the longer period in the night and for a short one in the daytime. During the observation period, George slept for 12 hours in the night and for only 35 minutes in the daytime. It is quite unusual for children of his age. Typically, the seven-months-old infants are used to sleeping three times a day, namely ten hours in the night and two times per 1.5 2 hours in the daytime (Karitane, 2013). By the way, George looked quite nervous, and his behavior was accompanied by sharp changes of mood in the afternoon. One can conclude that it is a consequence of the babys lack of sleep. If this result repeats, his parents should be worried because sleep problems which occur among one-year-old infants in 32 % of cases persist among these children in the older age (Lam & Wake, 2003). According to psychologists assessment, about a half of these children had a tendency to aggressive behavior and somatic problems at the age of 3 4 years (Lam & Wake, 2003). However, according to Georges mothers previous observations, this day was an exception.

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Molly slept for about nine hours in the night and about two hours in the daytime. The period spent in the sleeping condition is less than the daily norm by 2 hours. However, this feature can be easily explained by the childs needs due to her calm character.

As these infants usually had no sleep problems, their parent did not use any sleep aids. The children awakened themselves, and their caregivers did not intervene in the sleep process at all. It is also noteworthy to pay attention to the actions of the children before they go to bed. Thus, George falls asleep during breast-feeding, while Molly does not fall asleep without her soother. She usually watches cartoons right before going to bed.

Recommendations

Thus, the observation showed that both children slept less than they should, according to the recommended norms. In Mollys case, the time she was sleeping was enough to have a proper rest due to her normally calm amusement and even temper. On the contrary, in the case of George, 12.5 hours were absolutely insufficient. It is necessary to avoid the constant lack of sleep in a child since, regardless its causes, it significantly decreases the infant's ability to learn as well as adversely affects the immune system and the babys behavior. However, the parents should also remember that the sleep aid is applicable only in the cases when it is impossible to regulate the duration of the sleep in another way. Accordingly, the recommendations for Georges caregivers are the following. They should increase the duration and intensity of the outdoor walks and activities as well as try to provide more active games during this time. They should also try to ensure the calmer babys pastime (draw or read him a book). The parents should also pay attention to the proper diet and regular wet cleaning in infants bedroom and ensure that the babies bed is soft, clean and dry because the quality of childrens sleep is directly dependent on their lifestyle.

There are some cases when the child's sleep time does not clearly comply with the recommended standards, and the baby at the same time is fun, cheerful and curious (Lam & Wake, 2003). It means that the childs need for sleep is less, and they have some other standards. This situation is close to Mollys case. In this case, her parents should not impose generally accepted standards on the child. Therefore, the caregivers should increasingly focus on the behavior of the baby, not the clock. They should not hold the child in the bed, if she awakened earlier than usual, and should not awake her persistently if they see that the baby naps too strong.

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According to the observation, both infants have some habits of falling asleep. George is used to suckling, and Molly watches cartoons. Thus, there is the recommendation for their parents concerning these habits. It is important for children to be able to fall asleep on their own every night. This process should not be affected by the rocking, feeding or a lullaby (Department of Early Education and Care, 2015). If such dependence exists, children awakening at night will be unable to fall asleep without the parents beside them. Therefore, Mollys and Georges parents should teach their children to calm down independently and go to bed on their own.

Conclusion

Thus, a sterling sleep of a child promotes more effective and long-term attention and concentration. It provides a beneficial effect on the mental state of the infant. The child stays calm, inclined to entertain themselves and needs a minimum of the outside attention after it. Moreover, the day sleep is deservedly considered as the primary mean of the behavioral and neurological problems prevention relating to older children. The observed sleeping patterns of two infants allowed one to formulate the following recommendations for their parents. As Georges results showed the lack of sleep, his parents should change the boys schedule, including more walks outdoors and active games. Mollys sleeping pattern results were quite tolerable. However, both infants parents should teach their children to calm down independently and go to bed on their own to avoid any problems concerning the sleep in the future.

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