Parent and Early Childhood Educators Role in Supporting Sleep Hygiene in Preschool-Aged Children

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McCabe, Stephanie
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Research has indicated that achieving adequate sleep quality and duration is crucial for optimal growth and development of children and is a predictor of adult health and well-being. However, research on strategies to promote optimal health and development in children has largely ignored sleep quality and duration as an essential component. Research on early childhood day and night time sleep practices can add to the growing body of research on how sleep contributes to children’s health and well-being. Methods: Data was collected from seven parents and seven early childhood educators (ECEs) in Halifax using focus groups and phone interviews. This research provided an opportunity for parents and ECEs to share their unique experiences related to preschool-aged children’s sleep quality and duration. Results: Analysis of the transcripts followed a thematic analysis and resulted in a description of parent and ECEs experiences with and understanding of preschool-age children’s sleep quality and duration. Five themes were identified, including: 1) consistent and predictable rest time routines, 2) communication between home and child care, 3) balancing of values and beliefs, 4) the impact of sleep on children’s development, and 5) availability of professional development and workshops. Significance: This research contributes to the broader understanding of parent and ECEs perceptions of the relationship between sleep and preschool-aged children’s health and development and may provide guidance to future research and individuals directly connected to preschool-aged children such as policy makers, parents, and ECEs.
Sleep hygiene, child development, preschool-aged children