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Kids sleep differently

... and they have good reasons for it

Sleep is the most natural thing in the world and the main occupation of babies and small children. He is just as important as being awake for their development. Nevertheless, the Babyschlaf in many families ensures that conflicts, emergency, and real drama. The most natural thing in the world will simply not work. It has a reason.

By Dr. med. Herbert Renz pad, author of the book "sleep tight, baby!"

The Kinderschlaf

That it has sleep in itself, which is familiar to us adults. Other than the most other things of in life we can not achieving sleep, we make an effort. On the contrary: the sleep resulting in relaxation. He must find us, not we him. It has set up nature for a good reason. When we sleep, we give up each control. We are defenseless, reflexlos, powerless. Sleep may happen only under certain conditions - namely, if we feel safe and secure. Not a Wolf howling out there, no creaking floorboards. No wonder that we briefly consider before going to sleep, whether the front door key really took off. Only when we feel safe, we can relax. And only when we are relaxed, we can sleep.

And the children? Is it as well. They also provide conditions the Sandman. And what they are, parents learn quickly. Yes, the kids want to be fed, they want to be hot, and they want to be tired (we sometimes forget that). But then a question is also for them: I'm sure protected and recovered?

Two nasties

The sense of security which draw baby? Differently as adults they not draw it yourself, and that's a good thing: how could a baby alone drive a Wolf? How could it make alone, that it is covered, when the fire went out? How could it drive out alone a mosquito, sitting him on the nose? Small children take their sense of security of those who are responsible by nature for the protection and care of the little people: their parents. For this reason the same nastiness happening as soon as a child is tired: now a kind of invisible rubber stretches on with him- and that attracts it to the most familiar caregiver, with power. It finds no one, so is the child in distress and crying. And then looks up the tension associated guarantees the Sandman in the escape...

But that's not all. The little ones bring yet other legacy in life. Human children are born in comparison to other mammals in a very immature State. Especially the brain exists only in a narrow gauge variant - it must at least triple its size in the first three years of life! This Entwicklungsspurt has impact lungs also on the Kinderschlaf. Because when the baby brain remains comparatively active even after falling asleep some time - it creates new connections, it grows in the truest sense of the word. That takes a lot of energy - babies wake up therefore more common to "refuel". In addition, this Reifungsschlaf is rather easy and dream-loaded - babies can be therefore often not, without that you wake up again.

How babies sleep

That small children sleep differently as adults has good reason. We briefly summarize what is known about small children sleep.

Young children have very different sleep needs. Just as some children are "good food recyclers", so some good recyclers of sleep seem to be - and vice versa! Some babies sleep newborns aged 11, but some 20 hours a day (in the medium they are in 14.5 hours). Some infants with 9 hours come out with 6 months, others need up to 17 hours (on average they sleep now 13 hours). In the second year of life, the daily sleep requirement the average is 12 hours - depending on the child, plus or minus 2 hours. With 5 years some infants with 9 hours come out, others need but still 14 hours....

Small children need a while to find a rhythm. While sleeping in the newborn is evenly distributed on day and night, after all, already a pattern can be from two to three months recognized: now the babies settle a growing part of their sleep in the night. Still, with five to six months most babies keep still about three day NAP, a few months later many of them come out during the day already with two portions of sleep. And as soon as they can walk, many of them to settle, just long since not everyone with a single NAP. And with four, at least five in the vast majority children is history.

It is rather rare that a baby sleeps the whole night without a break. In science a baby therefore then counts to the "through"euthanasia, if there are peace according to the parents from midnight until 5: 00. In the first half year of life 86 percent of infants wake up (according to the parents) regularly at night. About a quarter of them three times and more. Between 13 and 18 months two-thirds of the babies still wake up regularly at night. Guys wake up at night as a whole more often than girls. Also babies parents sign up more (but shorter...). Breast-fed children are sleeping through total later it as not breastfed children.

Way to sleep

The child's sleep formula is basically no different than that of the adult: A child wants to be warm to sleep not just tired, and tired – it wants to feel safe. And first of all takes his adult companion - a child needs them more than the other, a child more than the other. A child experiences a such loving support to sleep, again and again then it an own security builds gradually, his own "home to sleep".

It is therefore a misunderstanding if parents do when their child's sleep it would above all, to find the a trick with the babies sleep suddenly without any problems. He does not exist the, and if, then work only at the neighborhood kid.

It is also a misconception that babies would be spoiled if they get the accompaniment in the bedroom, which they expect by nature. 99% of human history an alone sleeping baby might not have experienced tomorrow the next – it has been deported by hyenas, nibbled by snakes or undercooled by a sudden cold front. And yet the little ones had to be strong and independent. By because of pampering by close!.

And we should submit, if they can find not only to sleep, no sleep disorder also babies. Basically, they work perfectly. The Spanish children's doctor Carlos Gonzales again put: "If you take away the mattress from me and forcing me to sleep on the floor is the sleep be very difficult for me. Does that mean I suffer from insomnia? Of course not! Give me back the mattress, and you will see how well I can sleep! Separating a child from his mother and finding him asleep difficult, it then suffers insomnia? You will see how well it is asleep, if you give him back his mother! "."

It is a way to find which signals the child about: here I can feel at home, here I can relax. Then work the next step - the way to sleep.

Sleep tight, baby!

Dealing with exactly these trails in the author's new book: sleep well, baby! Together with the parents journalist Nora Imlau admits he is myths and fears surrounding the Kinderschlaf out of the way and pleads for a development-oriented, individual perception of the child - away by rigid rules. Insightful and based on scientific information and practical assistance the authors encourage to find its own way to make it easier for the baby to sleep.

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About the author

Dr. Herbert Renz cushion is pediatrician and associate scientist at the Mannheim Institute for public health of the University of Heidelberg. He is one of the most prominent voices on issues of child development. His works "Children of men" as well as "Children understand" have influenced the education debate in Germany. He is the father of four children.

The author's website