Science of Sleep + Toddler Development

The most important thing to remember about teaching and helping families is to bring peace of mind and sleep to each family. How do sleep and brain development work? CDC says: “How the brain grows is strongly affected by the child’s experiences with other people and the world.Nurturing care for the mind is critical for brain growth. Children grow and learn best in a safe environment where they are protected from neglect and extreme or chronic stress, with plenty of opportunities to play and explore.

Toddlers can be the most fun and frustrating humans ever created. You look at this perfect little human; they are screaming at the top of their lungs because the fry size is too short or too long. What the Heck They make no sense. So, why is this happening? What is going on when they are throwing such fits?

Science saysDr. Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist (and author of the Idiot Brain, and Guardian columnist who moonlights as a stand-up comic), says that the early days of brain development are fascinating because all of the connections needed throughout life are forming and coming together. 

The brain doesn’t grow the same way as the rest of the body. Children can master crawling through repetition, but that doesn’t mean they will understand why they need to put on shoes. What toddlers do understand is that when something is different than the day before, it sets them off.All the connections in their brains aren’t made yet,” says Dr. Burnett. “When their expectations aren’t met, toddlers have lost control. They don’t know how to react, so they get distressed and sound the alarm bells because you’ve given them a red sippy cup instead of the green one.”

This makes sense to me that your toddler would be having a tantrum because he expects the same thing each day, and if we veer from the norm, this would be the behavior. Why do I start with this subject first when teaching sleep? It’s simple; we must learn why they behave like they do to understand their sleep patterns.

Between the ages of 18 months and 24 months, your toddler is willing to pick up and help; it’s a learned behavior. They are happy to help. What happens around the 2.5-year-old and 3-year-old mark? Why do they stop supporting?

Science says: According to Dr. James Doty, trained neurosurgeon and Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (or CCCARE) at Stanford University School of Medicine and author of Into the Magic Shop — this is typical behavior.

It starts to fade when there’s more social interaction. It may be that now, they’re in an environment where they see other people either not behaving in this fashion, or they start learning to be more selfish.” You knew it — it’s society‘s fault!”.

Dr. Doty has some ideas on how to help your kid keep their sense of understanding, compassion, and fairness. Three steps: Promote emotional intelligence, model it, and let them know it’s ok to fail.”

So, would a routine be beneficial for a toddler?

How do we create a consistent pattern? Let’s look at the daytime schedule. In daycare, your child knows what to expect each day. The teachers have a system. This allows for fewer fits because your toddler knows what to expect. Every day they walk in and put their backpack in the cubby, then sit down on the gathering rug; this is done every day. This is a consistent routine.

Toddlers around 18 months move to one nap a day. Nap duration is between 1-3 hours each day. I like to suggest parents have naptime after lunch. This routine can last until five years old.

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Summer is an International Certified Newborn Care Specialist and Certified Sleep Consultant. Summer is part of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC) and the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC).

Summer has been SEEN on 12 News, Fox News, NPR News, and and has been seen on AzLiving & regular on Independent talk radio 1100 KFNX and on Living Real T.V. Talk Show as a guest.

Summer is an International Best-Seller Author “WOMEN WHO BOSSUP.”

Summer has over 26 years of experience working with families and has created Multiple Professional Training Courses.

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