An 8-Year-Old Just Will Not Get To Sleep And Has Been This Way Since Infancy. What Should The Parents Do?

Question: An 8-year-old just will not get to sleep and has been this way since infancy. The parents are continually frustrated. What should they do?

Answer: So sleep problems are very, very common among children and adolescents for that matter. It's often something that goes first to the pediatrician so by the time they make their way to see a psychiatrist or child psychiatrist, often there's been a number of interventions that have been tried. And it's worth trying them again even if the parents find themselves in the offices of a psychiatrist.

These involve changes in sleep hygiene that means >going to bed at the same time every night, having steady routines. These involve having better understanding of what's going on in the child's head when their having a hard time falling asleep. Many kids are temperamentally more anxious at night -- temperament is normal, but it would be helpful to help alleviate that anxiety before the child falls asleep and to find out what's making them anxious.

The final part or answer to this would be among 8-year-olds you can sometimes see the start of certain psychiatric syndromes -- attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, sleep disorders, some mood disorders and many of these are manifested by difficulty sleeping. So you want to screen carefully for that and if anything seems suspicious, ask more questions.