Hannan K, Hiscock H. (2105)
Childhood sleep problems are common, and frequently reduce the wellbeing and functioning of both child and family. The majority of childhood sleep problems are behavioral in origin. This article outlines the etiology and features of sleep difficulties in children, from infants to teenagers, and provides a corresponding ‘toolkit’ of evidence-based behavioral management strategies. Childhood behavioral sleep problems manifest across age groups as various forms of difficulty initiating and/or maintaining sleep. These difficulties are often amenable to home-based behavioral interventions, which can be taught to parents and, depending on their developmental stage, the child or adolescent. Sustaining the intervention for sufficient sleep duration can be challenging for families. Community health practitioners play a central role in tailoring the explanation of management strategies to families and children or adolescents. Sleep diaries and education materials from evidence-based websites can assist the practitioner and family in achieving successful diagnosis and treatment.
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