Is your tablet or smart phone keeping your baby awake?
It sounds like a silly question, but recent research suggests that when an infant plays with a touch screen device they have a harder time falling asleep and sleep less at night. A recent study by a team of British researchers found children ages 6 months-36 months who spend one hour on a touch screen per day sleep, on the average, 15 minutes less at night. What’s more, they don’t completely make up for the lost nighttime sleep by taking longer naps. So why is this important? Sleep time affects infant brain development. Children who have poor sleep patterns as infants can have developmental issues later on. How do the touch screens affect infants? Researchers suggest that over-stimulation and disruption of circadian rhythms by backlit screens may play a role.
Of course, parents have long known the value of reading stories at night for calming children down and getting them to sleep. Did you know that the Provo City Library Children’s Department has a list of great bedtime stories? If you are having trouble getting an infant or toddler into a good bedtime routine, come to the Library and pick out some nighty-night themed picture books. Here are some of my favorites.
By Jane Smile
Illustrated by Lauren Castillo
After a day at the beach, everyone is ready for an early bedtime. Dad yawns, mom yawns, and Lucy yawns. As the family gets ready for bed, the color of the illustrations change from the warm sunny colors of the beach to the subdued cool colors of night. I challenge anyone to read this book and not yawn at least once.
By Minfong Ho
Illustrated by Holly Meade
In short rhyming lines, a mother encourages the jungle animals and insects to hush while her baby sleeps. Meade’s collage cut-paper illustrations mirror the soothing tone of Ho’s poetry. This is a Caldecott honor book and such a classic that we hope it never goes out of print.
IN A BLUE ROOM
By Jim Averbeck
Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Alice wants everything in her room to be blue. Her wish comes true when the lights go out and moonlight streams through the window. The quiet question-and-response format of Averbeck’s text is as calming and comforting as Tusa’ pastel illustrations.