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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Children and Sleep Problems

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jul 9th 2011

Children and Sleep ProblemsIf you are a parent of children whose ages are three to five years old you need to be aware of new information published by the Journal of Pediatrics. The study that was published showed that children watching television after 7PM had more difficulty falling asleep than those who did not watch during what is commonly known as prime time TV.

Pediatricians all over the country have expressed concern about children's exposure to television. Many parents mistakenly believe that children will fall asleep easier if they are watching TV prior to bedtime. Obviously, the opposite is true. The fact that many children have a TV in their bedroom further complicates the problem. In point of fact, it is recommended that, up until the age of two years old, no screen time be allowed. Thereafter, screen time should be restricted to no more than two hours a day.

Many families treat the TV as a kind of babysitter for their kids as a way to keep them busy and out of trouble. Here, too, the opposite is true. I think it's interesting that many parents believe that sugar, in the form of candy and cake will make their kids hyperactive. Actually, it appears that television can have that effect.

The study went on to say that the children who watched the most TV had the most difficulty falling asleep. Also, these kids repeatedly woke up during the night.

So, what is recommended? Reading bed time stories, cuddling with kids prior to sleep, and having an unchanging daily routine so that children become accustomed to sleep at the same time each night. The fact is that, even at night, children need the warm and loving attention of their parents.


Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

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