In this blog I will help you to establish whether or not your child is actually overtired and take you through the steps you can take to understand if your child is overtired and what you can do about that if that is the case.
Is your child overtired, is your little one overtired, and does it even matter if they are?
It really does matter. Overtiredness is the main reason that you will see difficulty with your little one settling to sleep, disturbed sleep, so lots of wakings and light sleep that’s disruptive, you’ll also see also early waking, waking up early for the day, starting the day too soon. All of those are typical repercussions of being overtired. And I know that sounds crazy because we would think that if they’re really tired, they would just sleep, right? But no, the opposite is actually true.
These effects of overtiredness, not only are they probably a little bit annoying and disruptive, they may well disturb you and maybe other members of the family sleep as well, they also have a big impact on children, little ones. Your child’s brain development, for example, is a really important thing that will be affected through lack of sleep or through this disturbed sleep. The deep quality nourishing sleep that they really need is absolutely vital for their brain development, as well as their health, their immune system, and all the other benefits that go with good sleep too. So it does matter.
What can you do and how do you recognise if your child even is overtired? You might have some clues with indications other than those repercussions I mentioned. Indications like being fractious, clingy, just groggy, perhaps a bit unsociable, just not in the most cheerful and contented spirit. Those some of the obvious signs that your little one is overtired, and they just really seem to be a bit out of sorts. You often can tell you if ee things like eye rubbing and you can often look at their face and see when they are really, really tired as well.
The other thing that you can do to help determine whether your child is overtired is to know what ideal sleep looks like for their age and developmental stage. For instance, did they ought to be having a certain amount of daytime sleep? Are they getting those naps in? And if they are, are they long enough? Are they deep and nourishing or are they short cat naps that are shallow? Are they awake for too long in between sleeps? We call those wake windows. Are those wake windows too long for them at this age and developmental stage? And this is where you cannot use your baby or your child as a guidepost for this because they will have you believe that they’re fine. They will have you believe that they can be awake for five hours when really, the optimal time is actually two and a half hours.
So understanding what that optimal time really is for your little one and helping them to get their sleep when it actually is going to be more beneficial for them is really going to help you move forward with this. Knowing what that sleep ought to look like, how much do they really need overall, in what sleep patterns should that come in? Is it naps, night sleep? What does it all need to look like? And then, with that knowledge, you can actually work on spotting where the overtiredness is coming from so that you can resolve it.
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