Child Development

Young Children Get Enough Sleep | Sparklekidz

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Discover practical tips to establish healthy sleep habits for young children, ensuring restful nights and improved overall well-being.


Avoid screen time during meal times and using food as a reward or to soothe. This recommendation for toddlers is among a new set of guidelines rolled out after previous studies found that young children here are not getting enough sleep and have too much screen time.

“Time allocated for physical activity, sleep and recreational screen viewing time practices were sub-optimal in Singapore’s young children, with more than half the parents either underestimating or overestimating the actual duration required for adequate physical activity and recreational screen viewing time,” he says.

Advice from Educator

Ms Carol Loi, a parenting and family coach and digital literacy educator, says young children take the lead from their parents. Having a strong relationship with their child and being aware of the importance of role modelling can go a long way in shaping a child’s development, she says.

“Parents can be intentional in using their time,” she adds. For instance, parents can be mindful of how much time they spend on their own devices, and what they eat in front of their kids.

Practical Tips

A practical tip she gives for bedtime and screen-time struggles is that children need time to transit from one activity to another.

“Moving from being awake and being asleep and vice versa is about change management. The body needs time to wind down, as well as to be active,” she says.

Likewise, easing children out of a video or game they are highly engaged in takes time, she adds.

“Giving children advance notice may help. Let them know of the activities that they will be doing after they stop using their screens.”

If possible, use a larger tablet rather than a smartphone, so that it would be easier for parents to share a screen with their child and have meaningful conversations about what they are watching, says Ms Loi.

She also encourages parents to have realistic expectations, noting that every family has different needs and may be in different seasons of life.

“Balancing the need to be intentional in nurturing healthy habits in their children as well as the realities of life may not be easy,” she says.

Dr Loo acknowledges that the guidelines may seem daunting for parents at first..

His advice is to start with one or any combination of the recommended behaviours, and adopt the practices together as a family or with friends while encouraging one another.

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