RESEARCH says it is important that Children need to be able to self soothe by the time they are five years old.

A study conducted at Queensland University of Technology in Australia has found that children who are able to soothe themselves back to sleep by the time they are five years old tend to have an easier time adjusting to school compared to kids with issues sleeping.

The large-scale study, which followed nearly 3,000 children from birth to age 6 or 7, found that one-third of kids have sleep problems that led to emotional and behavioral issues in the classroom, including a greater risk of developing attention deficit disorder.

As one of the first studies to use such a large sample size to examine long-term effects, parents were asked to report their child’s sleep while teachers then reported on the child’s ability to adjust in a school setting.

Those problematic sleep issues — the inability to self-regulate their attention or to soothe themselves back to sleep without the aid of a parent — were clearly associated with hyperactivity, poorer classroom self-regulation, and emotional outbursts.

“We now know 70 percent of children are regulating their own sleep by 5 years, but for the remaining third it may be detrimental to them developmentally over time,” said Dr. Kate Williams from the university’s Faculty of Education, School of Early Childhood. “The overwhelming finding is it’s vital to get children’s sleep behaviors right by the time they turn five.”

What can a parent do to get their kids on the right track before they reach that crucial age?

Dr Williams said there was an opportunity for better awareness about sleep hygiene practices before children started school.

“Parents can withdraw some habits, like lying with children over and over, letting them into their bed, it’s really important to give children a sense of skill so they can do these things themselves,” she said.

“Sleep problems can be sorted out long before a child reaches school age, provided parents and childcare workers are aware and supported,” she said. “Prevention is the key.”

Does your preschooler still struggle to self soothe?

Share your experience below.

Image via getty

  • luckily i haven’t had major issues to deal with like this. My kids are happy to have their own beds. it is too hard to get up and leave as any little disturbance wakes them up again lol


  • So easy in theory! But when you have a screaming child at 2am, who shows no signs of self settling, 2 working parents and lost sleep……..sometimes bed sharing is the best option


  • western cultures are the only ones who do not co-sleep with children. So this study is saying that most of the world is wrong in their child rearing practices and sleep practices?


  • There is also another study that maybe this person should look at, that followed from birth to adulthood, that showed benefits of attachment parenting far outweighed those of other methods.
    I’ve always cuddled, fed, rocked, whatever, my babies from birth, as that’s what felt right. My children are still young, but my eldest (nearly 5), is now an amazing sleeper. Goes to sleep by himself, no issues ever. I put this down to sleep always being a positive, loving experience. No negative associations with it. My middle child (nearly 3), also now goes to bed by himself, no issues, but still usually comes in to our bed at some point. But I know he’ll outgrow that when he’s ready.
    I can’t stand articles that make parents feel guilty for comforting their children. if you don’t meet their basic needs & make them feel 100% secure & loved, how on earth do you expect to get emotionalrly balanced, capable adults??


  • Think there are exceptions, like in the case of a serious sick child, although I would prefer a mattrass on the floor beside the child in that case above sleeping with the child.
    But no, my preschooler doesn’t struggle to self soothe. I’ve always put her down in her bed after a story and a cuddle and walked away to leave her and soothe herself to fall asleep. And so she did from a very young age.


  • Next they’ll be saying don’t sleep with a sick baby or toddler to pacify them to help them go to sleep. It’s a lot easier to do it with a sick child who is otherwise up most of the night. I’ve done it with a baby with croup, making sure he didn’t lay flat as instructed by a Medical Consultant. If I woke up and gently moved him up a little higher he slept, If he slid down and woke up he got very distressed and started wheezing much more. We both got some sleep and I didn’t have a very distressed crying baby all night and keeping the other youngsters awake too


  • OMG Seriously! This is a study that states sleep issues such as cuddling our children to sleep will cause ADD…etc… How about the possibility that sleep issues are caused by things like ADD.

    Can’t we just parent how we want to parent?! Some parents CIO and some cosleep. Every child is different and has different needs. Lets not pen them all in the same.


  • I will be lucky if I can


  • Oh my God protect our children


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