Sleep and Parenting Styles in Preschool Children in Turkey

By Sari, Hatice Yildirim; Altiparmak, Saliha | International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, April 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Sleep and Parenting Styles in Preschool Children in Turkey


Sari, Hatice Yildirim, Altiparmak, Saliha, International Journal of Child Health and Human Development


Introduction

Sleep is the temporary, partial, and periodical loss of the interaction between an organism and the environment, which can be reversed with stimuli at different intensities (1). Sleep is a biopsychosocial process that is influenced by complex biologic rhythms. Homeostatic mechanisms, chronobiological factors, parenting, temperament, cultural beliefs, and family values all contribute to the development of sleep patterns (2,3).

Sleep is a key element of child development. Organization of sleep in the first years of life undergoes many changes. Establishment and maturation of sleep-wake patterns, organization of sleep phases and establishment of routine sleep habits are the developmental characteristics to be achieved in early childhood (1).

Preschool children (3-5 year olds) spend 11-12 hours a day sleeping. Most of the five-year old children stop daytime sleeping. Sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes and slow wave sleep occurs at high levels (3). Preschool sleep problems are seen in 25-50% of the children (4,5). Difficulty in falling asleep, night awakenings and nightmares are common among preschool children (3,6).

In preschool-aged children, developmental and cultural issues that particularly affect sleep include expanded language and cognitive skills, which may lead to increased bedtime resistance (7). There are numerous bedtime routines observed during preschool years. Going to bathroom before bedtime, going to bed with parents and/or sleeping with an object such as a toy or blanket are commonly seen in pre-school years (8, 9). Different studies have different results indicating that children share the same bed or sleep alone (9, 10, 11). In one study, it was determined that children sleeping alone have more complex bedtime routines than children who sleep with their parents (8).

Parental factors play an important role at sleep patterns. Parental characteristics, such as personality, psychopathology, employment, and education, have been repeatedly associated with sleep in early childhood (2). Children acquire normal sleep routines within the context of their family environment (6). Psychologically mature parents have been described as being empathetic with their child, having the capacity of coping flexibly with life's challenges, and providing an optimal environment for the development of self-regulation. In contrast, family stress, marital conflicts, and poor parent-child relationships can have negative effects on children's sleep (2, 11, 12, 13). Negative parental attitudes lead to bad dreams and a decrease in total sleeping time (12). Marital conflicts decrease a child's total sleeping time and sleep quality, and lead to sleep distruptions (14).

There are not enough studies having investigated preschool children's sleep patterns and effects of parental attitudes on sleep in Turkey. It is a wellknown fact that cultural traits and parental attitudes affect sleep patterns (2, 15). This research was planned to investigate sleep patterns and problems of preschool children, and their relationship with parental attitudes.

Method

The research is a descriptive type. The data was collected in May and June 2010. The research was carried out in the provinces of Izmir and Manisa. In each province, three schools were randomly selected from schools providing pre-school education by the Directorate of National Education.

Participants: The questionnaires were sent to 150 families from three kindergartens in the province of Izmir and 87 families responded and returned the questionnaires. In the province of Manisa, questionnaires were sent to 193 families and 97 of them were returned. 53.6% of the questionnaires were sent back. Three questionnaires were excluded, because of incomplete information. The total number of the samples was 181.

Research Ethics: To conduct the research, written permissions were received from the Directorate of National Education, directorates of kindergartens and parents. …

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