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Sleep in early childhood

sleep; sleeping; dream; night; terrors; waking; separation; anxiety; settle; settling; bed; cot; dummy; dummies; blanket; sedatives; controlled; comforting; tired; tiredness; rituals;

Sleep for babies and children can be a concern for parents. They wonder whether they are doing the right thing if their child does not sleep all through the night.

It can help to know that night waking is normal in the early years. What matters most is that babies and children have the comforting they need, and bedtimes are calm and relaxed. If things aren’t working as well as you would like, the following information may help.

To find out more

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Parent Easy Guide prepared by Parenting SA, Parenting SA is a partnership between the Department for Education and Child Development and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.  

Getting support

If things are not working as well as you would like, or you feel upset or worried, do not hesitate to seek help and support. Contact a service in this topic or talk to your doctor. You could ask friends or family for support. They might be able to look after your child for a short while so you can rest.

Children’s sleep can be challenging at times. If you feel upset or angry, make sure your child is safe and take a short break. You could go outside or contact a friend.

Remember, never shake a baby. It can cause brain damage and some children die. Have a look at the topic Never shake a baby.

South Australia

Parent Helpline Phone 1300 364 100
For advice on child health and parenting, including sleep and settling

Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS)
Phone 1300 733 606, 9am-4.30pm, Mon-Fri for an appointment. The child health nurses can help with sleep and settling for babies and young children.


Raising Children Network
Information about raising children, including sleep and settling

Parenting SA
For more Parent Easy Guides including ‘Sleep disturbance’, ‘About babies’, ‘Bedwetting’ and ‘Living with toddlers’ 
Parenting SA is a  partnership between the Department for Education and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network. Ph: 08 8303 1660
Parent Easy Guides are free in South Australia.
Important: This information is not intended to replace advice from a qualified practitioner.
© Government of South Australia. Revised:07/2017..

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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